AFTER YESTERDAY’S TRIPLE disappointment in Trabzon, David Oliver Joyce and Paddy Barnes got Ireland back on track with wins that leave them one bout away from a spot at the 2012 Olympics.
Joyce moved into the quarter-finals of the 60kg lightweight division with a brilliant 24-14 victory over Germany’s Arthur Bril of Germany in the last 16 this afternoon.
The St Michael’s Athy man led by a single point, 7-6, at the end of a tight first round but excelled in the second and opened up a five-point lead by the bell.
Joyce kicked on with a further 10 points in the final round to progress to tomorrow’s showdown against Evaldas Petrauskas of Lithuania. Either Joyce or Petrauskas, Olympic Youth Champion in 2010, will claim one of the division’s four remaining qualification spots.
“Comparing it to the last day I fought, I felt a bit sluggish in there today,” Joyce told Paul McDermott of the Irish Sports Council afterwards. ”I’m happy enough with the performance. If that’s good enough to get me through my fights, then let it be.”
Asked about Petrauskas, Joyce said: “He’ll be a tough lad. I sparred him in the Ukraine and he’s a big strong lad, a physical lad. I’ll just have to get my tactics right tomorrow and see what happens.”
Barnes, an Olympic bronze medallist in Beijing four years ago, moved into the quarter-finals of the light-flyweight division with a second-round stoppage against Istvan Ungvari of Hungary this evening.
Barnes trailed 4-2 at the end of the first round but forced Ungari to take a standing count in the second and the Croatian referee waved the fight off.
Up next for Barnes is Stefan Caslarov of Romania in the quarter-finals , with the winner guaranteed a place at the Olympics.
All four Irish fighters are in action tomorrow.