07 April 2008 – by Mark Doyle
Conor Ahern and Darren Sutherland are both safely through to the last eight of their respective weight classes after victories on day one of the final AIBA Olympic qualifier for European boxers, in Athens, Greece on Monday.
However, welterweight Willie McLoughlin fell at the first hurdle, the Donegal welterweight seeing his hopes of fighting in Beijing dashed by a 13-11 defeat by Bosnian Velibor Vidic.
Meanwhile, flyweight Ahern was always in control in his bout with Salomo NTune and eventually coasted to a 14-8 win.
However, the Dubliner suffered a cut over his left eye during the bout and is now a doubt for his quarter-final clash with Bato-munko Vankeyeu on Wednesday.
However, High Performance Director Gary Keegan is reportedly upbeat on Aherns chances of being given the all-clear to fight.
As for middleweight star Sutherland, he progressed with the minimum of fuss, racking up a classy 5-0 win over Finn Niko Jokinen.
Sutherland will be back in action on Tuesday, while Irish captain Ken Egan, David Oliver Joyce, John Joe Joyce, Ross Hickey, Tom Sheahan and Cathal McMonagle will all make their first appearances in the tournament at various stages during the day.
Olympic Qualifiers Results (Preliminary bouts) Athens Greece April 7th
51Kg: (Flyweight) Conor Ahern (Ireland) beat Salomo N’Tune (Sweden) 14-8
69Kg (Welterweight) Willie McLoughlin (Ireland) lost to Velibor Vidic (Bosnia) 11-13
75Kg: (Middleweight) Darren Sutherland (Ireland) beat Niko Jokinen (Finland) 5-0
April 8th Draw (Last Sixteen)
57Kg: David Oliver Joyce (Ireland) v Theodoros Papazov (Greece)
60Kg: Ross Hickey (Ireland) v Romal Amanov (Azerbaijan)
64Kg: John Joe Joyce (Ireland) v Zdenek Chladek (Czech Republic)
75Kg: Darren Sutherland (Ireland) v Eneste Glodi (Norway)
81Kg: Ken Egan (Ireland) v Allessandro Sinacore (Italy)
91Kg: Tom Sheahan (Ireland) v Tsolak Ananikyan (Armenia)
91+Kg: Cathal McMonagle (Ireland) v Yosef Abed Elghani (Israel)
April 9th Quarter Final Draw
51Kg: Conor Ahern (Ireland) v Bato – munko Vankeyeu (Belarus)