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Cool Tommy McCarthy shows Paddy Barnes the way

By David Kelly

Paddy Barnes watched as Tommy McCarthy produced a clinical display of boxing to leave himself three wins away from London 2012.

Belfast heavyweight McCarthy moved through to the quarter-finals at the final European Olympic qualifying event in Turkey yesterday when he outpointed Copla Alem of Bosnia and Herzegovina 12-3.

Now Barnes, a bronze medallist at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, steps up to the plate at light-flyweight knowing two wins will take him to the semi-finals and a place on the plane to London.

Belfast man Barnes, the 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, is highly fancied to make it to the last four and starts his campaign against Istvan Ungvari.

Irish senior champion Barnes (pictured) missed out on qualification for the Olympics at the World Championships in Baku last year when beaten by Mark Barriga of the Philippines but he put that down to ring rust coming on the back of an injury.

Now he faces Magyar Ungvari, brimming with confidence and ready to prove his Olympic class once more.

“I have been under pressure since winning gold in 2008, but I am number one in Europe,” says Barnes.

“I thought I was going to win gold in Baku, but I had had a long absence from the ring and it took its toll. I felt lost in the ring.

“The ball is in my court. I have beaten all these guys before and I know I will qualify.”

Yesterday, McCarthy made a perfect start to his bid to qualify for London, picking off his opponent with ease and this just a couple of months after suffering an attack which left him with a broken bone in his neck.

McCarthy, of the Oliver Plunkett club, was 4-1 up after the opening round and he moved 8-2 ahead going into the final three minutes.

The 21-year-old remained in control, spearing home his quick jabs and straight right hands to move through to a last eight meeting tomorrow with Josepf Darmos of Hungary.

Last night the Irish Amateur Boxing Association lodged a protest at the result of Joe Ward’s defeat at the hands of Turkey’s Bahran Muzaffer.

Muzaffer was controversially adjudged to have beaten European champion Ward 18-15.

IABA President Tommy Murphy, who said he believed that Ward clearly won the contest, confirmed that the protest had been lodged.

There was further disappointment for the Irish as Tipperary super-heavyweight Con Sheehan bowed out following a 17-12 reversal to Muhammer Erkan Aci of Turkey.

Bray welterweight Adam Nolan, who will qualify for London if he reaches the welterweight final, enjoyed a 14-9 decision over Poland’s Thomasz Kot yesterday.

Nolan will now meet Tamerlan Abdullayer of Azerbaijan in the last-eight tomorrow.

Abdullayer edged out Simeon Chamov of Bulgaria on a countback yesterday. But there was disappointment for Ross Hickey, who lost 24-11 to impressive Moldovan light-welterweight Dimitri Galagot.

Hickey’s reversal means that Ireland will not be represented at light-welterweight in London.

Belfast Telegraph

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