Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Ireland's Nevin claims boxing silver

Joe Nevin, centre, lost to Luke Campbell in the men's boxing 56kg bantamweight final
Joe Nevin, centre, lost to Luke Campbell in the men's boxing 56kg bantamweight final

John Joe Nevin missed out on Olympic gold as he went down 14-11 to Luke Campbell in the Olympic bantamweight final at ExCeL on Saturday night.

Nevin was floored by a superb left-hand counter in the final round from his opponent, whom he had beaten in 2009 before Campbell gained revenge with a close win in last year's World Championship semi-finals.

Campbell had received the loudest cheers on the way to the ring, but there was still a sizeable Irish contingent who were buoyed by a bright start by Nevin, who surprised his old rival by beginning on the front foot.

Nevin's tactics seemed to play into the hands of Campbell to an extent, and the Yorkshireman landed with a slick combination, and although Nevin also landed it was Campbell's sharper shots that gave him a deserved 5-3 first round lead.

Campbell was producing a textbook performance, blocking the majority of Nevin's best efforts and countering well, although the Mullingar man came on well towards the end of the round, landing a peach of an uppercut and a stretching right hand to narrow the deficit to a single point at 9-8.

Given what was at stake, it was no surprise the third round should turn into a cagey affair, Campbell landing the first two rights of note before decking Nevin with a superb stabbing left as the Irishman lunged in to throw a right hand.

Campbell's lightning counters were making the difference, and at the end of an intriguing bout there could be little doubt that the Hull man had done enough to achieve a dream he has had since he first laced on gloves.

"Words can't describe how much pride I'm feeling right now," said John Joe's father Martin Nevin, in a packed pub on the outskirts of his hometown. "He's bringing home a silver medal, but that silver is golden to me."

John Joe's mother Winnie Nevin said she knew her son enjoyed himself in the ring. "He said before the fight tonight that he was going into the ring to have fun," she said. "He knew he was guaranteed at least silver so that relaxed him. He always makes it look so easy."

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