IRELAND ARE GUARANTEED their first medal of the Olympic Games, after John Joe Nevin beat Mexican Oscar Valdez Fierro to advance to the semi-finals of the Men’s Bantam on Sunday night.
The Mullingar boxer looked assured throughout, swerving to avoid his opponent’s jabs while landing plenty of his own. It seemed that an upper cut and left jab would give Nevin the advantage, but the first round finished level at 5-5.
The second round was a different story as the Irishman began to press home his advantage, starting with a glorious combination that the Mexican never really recovered from. Nevin was 12-9 ahead by the end of the round, his attacking skills more than making up for his lack of defensive nous.
Valdez-Fierro started off on the front foot in the third and went in search of closing up the gap.
Nevin got caught by his opponent and had to take a count to regroup, but he came back with aplomb and, although out on his feet, never stopped his accurate jabbing.
After what seemed like an eternity, the winner was called. Thankfully for Nevin and for Ireland, the 19-13 result went to the red corner and bronze, at least, was assured.