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Sean McComb full of confidence after securing bronze

By Jonathan Bradley

Sean McComb became the second Belfast boxer in 24 hours to secure a medal at the European Games in Baku.

Following on from Brendan Irvine's last-eight success, McComb defeated Turkey's Yasin Yilmaz in the lightweight quarter-finals to ensure he will earn at least bronze at the inaugural competition.

And coach Billy Walsh believes his man can trouble former World and European Championship gold medallist Albert Selimov in the semi-finals.

He said: "We know Albert. He's a world-class boxer, but Sean will be a very tricky opponent for him."

The 22-year-old secured a unanimous decision with all three judges scoring the fight 29-28 in his favour.

The contest began in a somewhat muted fashion, but the Holy Trinity boxer had the edge and put together some strong combinations to keep his opponent in check.

Yilmaz's performance improved in the third round but McComb had already done enough to secure his passage into a semi-final on Friday.

The southpaw, seeded fourth in the 60kg category, will now come up against home favourite Selimov for a place in the final.

McComb, who received messages of support from the likes of Barry McGuigan, Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan on social media, has been in notable form throughout the tournament after previously earning unanimous decisions against Tymur Beliak and Donato Cosenza.

He said: "It's a fantastic day and I'm delighted to get amongst the medals. Three wins now and another big test in the semi-finals, I can't wait for that. My fitness gives me confidence. I know I'm fitter than anyone out there."

Success in Azerbaijan will keep him on track to achieve his ambition of taking part in the 2016 Olympics.

The World Championships, set to be held in Qatar, are the direct qualifiers for Rio and McComb can reach November's competition this week by winning bronze, provided he is beaten by the eventual winner, or taking silver or gold.

Eyes will now return to Irvine who takes on Dmytro Zamatayev today looking to secure a place in the 49kg final. The 19-year-old is the youngest boxer in the team but has already produced a sizeable shock after overcoming home favourite and top-seed Salman Alizada.

Katie Taylor will also be stepping into the ring today and will secure at least a bronze with victory.

The World, European and Olympic lightweight champion will meet 19-year-old Ida Lundblad of Sweden.

Elsewhere, the swimming events began with Ards girl Emma Reid one of the bright sparks for the Irish team.

The 16-year-old came through her heat in the 200m butterfly with a time of 2.21.35 but finished 14th in her semi-final.

Rachel Bethel of Lisburn, along with team-mates Mona McSharry and Iseult Hayes, could not book her place in the women's 100-metre freestyle.

James Brown, of Ards, could not advance to the semi-finals in the 50-metre butterfly with none of the men's team coming through their heats.

Donegal badminton player Chloe Magee had a hugely productive day in the Azeri capital.

The No 6 seed defeated Kristine Sefere of Lativia in her second singles game and will take on Lianne Tann of Belgium today hoping to book a place in the quarter-finals.

Later in the day, Chloe and her brother Sam overcame the Lithuanian pair of Povilas Bartusis and Vytaute Fomkinaite 2-0 in their mixed doubles contest.

Belfast Telegraph


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