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Bronze in the bag as Irvine and Walker reach semis

 

By Adam McKendry

Northern Irish boxers Brendan Irvine and Kurt Walker are guaranteed bronze medals at the European Championships in Ukraine after they won their respective quarter-finals yesterday.

Irvine was in sparkling form, defeating Spain's Gabriel Escobar, who won a silver medal at the European U-22s earlier this year, in a unanimous decision to reach the last four of the flyweight class.

That sets up a clash with English youngster Niall Farrell, who defeated double Olympian Manuel Cappai in his quarter-final.

Earlier in the day, Lisburn man Walker defeated Italian Raffaele di Serio in the bantamweight division to progress to the semi-finals as well.

However it was a tough day for Belfast light welterweight Sean McComb, who controversially lost by split decision to England's Luke McCormack in his quarter-final.

Two of the judges had McComb completing a whitewash, scoring the fight at 30-27 in favour of the Holy Trinity club man, but the other three gave it 29-28 in favour of McCormack, much to McComb's frustration.

After the bout, the 24-year old tweeted: "Some things never change with amateur boxing! Gutted!"

In all, Ireland are guaranteed at least three medals after Westmeath man Joe Ward added another victory in his last eight tie.

Ward, who is the current European light-heavy champion, cruised past Scotland's Sean Lazzerini and will now take on Mykola Butsenko of Ukraine, who was beaten by John Joe Nevin in the 2013 European final.

The three semi-finalists have all qualified for the World Championships in Hamburg in August by virtue of reaching the European quarter-finals, meaning McComb will join them as well.

Today is a rest day at the Championships, with the semi-final line-up to be finalised tomorrow.

Belfast Telegraph

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