Paddy Barnes marched into the quarter-finals of the AIBA World Elite Men’s Championships in Kazakhstan after a fantastic performance yesterday.
Holy Family boxer Barnes ensured that there will be five Irish boxers in action in today’s last eight showdowns following an inside the distance win over Kenya’s Simon Nziok.
The Belfast flyweight dropped Nziok with a sweet left hook in the first round and the ref called a halt.
But Sean McComb agonisingly lost out in his bid to reach the quarter-finals as the Belfast lightweight was edged out on a split decision by Azeri puncher Elvin Isayev in the 60kg class.
One judge gave the Irish Elite champion the fight 29-28, but the other two scored it 29-28, 30-27 for Isyayev who will now meet Italy’s Domenico Valentino in the last-eight.
And Joe Ward advanced following a 30-27,30-27, 30-26 unanimous decision over Hungarian light-heavy Norbert Harsca.
The Moate BC southpaw will now meet Russia’s Nikita Ivanov in a repeat of the 2011 European final – which Ward won in Turkey – in the quarter-finals.
Ward rocked Harsca with two big lefts in the opening two frames but Harsca had his moments, mostly off single shots, but Ward’s two and three-punch combinations were always going to win the day and he finished out the bout with an all out assault on the Magyar puncher.
In today’s quarter-finals Barnes, Michael Conlan, Jason Quigley, Ward and Tomy McCarthy will all be in action.