Brendan Irvine silences home crowd to secure Ireland's first medal at European Games

It wasn’t all good news for the Irish boxers today as Dean Gardiner and Ceira Smith both lost their bouts.

Updated 18.00

BRENDAN IRVINE SECURED Ireland’s first medal at the Inaugural European games with a superior display of boxing in the quarter-final of the men’s Light Flyweight division in Baku.

IRVINE 14 2 Irvine reacts as he is named the winner over the Azeri. Source: INPHO

The Belfast man silenced the home crowd by defeating Azerbaijan’s national champion, the number one seed in the 49kg division, Salman Alizada.

“I listened to my coaches and they told me what to do. I’m happy with the medal, but I’m not done yet,” Irvine told after coming out of the ring.

“I felt the hostile atmosphere from the crowd, but I focused on my thing. The atmosphere just kept me driving on. I was just focusing on getting out there to perform.”

The 19-year-old Irishman found himself on the back foot in the opening round as the short but powerful Azeri came forward with solid punches.

However, despite losing a close opening round, Irvine kept his cool and the second round was a clinic in shot accuracy as Irvine picked off the aggressor time and again with brilliant jabs and hooks before rolling out of trouble.


Still down on points going in to the third round, Irvine maintained his rhythm as the clock ticked down and it was the highly-fancied Alizada who began to show desperation as the relentless Irvine continues to grow in strength.

The victory means Irvine advances to Wednesday’s light flyweight semi-final to face Ukraine’s Dmytro Zamotayev and is guaranteed at least a bronze medal. However, on this showing he is capable of much more.

Gavin Cooney
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Dean Gardiner celebrates after victory against Guido Vianello Irish superheavyweight Dean Gardiner. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Meanwhile, Dean Gardiner was unable to do the same in the superheavyweight division.

The 27-year-old faced Tony Yoka in his quarter-final bout and the talented Frenchman showed his class throughout — winning by unanimous decision 10-9, 10-9, 10-19.

Earlier today, Ceire Smith lost out in her last-eight bout in the women’s flyweight division. The Cavan native was beaten by Russia’s Saiana Sagateva.

- Originally published 09.55

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