Irish flyweight Michael Conlan is guaranteed at least a bronze medal at London 2012 as he progressed to the semi-finals of the division by recording a 22-18 win against France’s Nordine Oubaali.
The St John Bosco boxer, who had won all three of his previous encounters with the French fighter, made a somewhat hesitant start against an opponent six years his senior.
Conlan, who is a natural orthodox fighter, opted to employ a southpaw stance against Oubaali in a round which was interrupted when the Belfast man had to return to his corner to have his headguard adjusted.
Oubaali’s punch-count was certainly greater than Conlan at the beginning of the bout, but despite unleashing a number of strong rights and left hooks, the judges scored the opening round 5-5.
The French fighter’s work rate was exceptional throughout, but Conlan moved sublimely and counterpunched brilliantly to ensure the bout was delicately poised at 12-12 going into the final round.
Conlan prevailed in a desperate high-tempo finish to the bout, winning the final round 10-6. Oubaali made a bright enough start to the round, but it became clear that he was flagging rapidly as the round progressed. A series of Conlan jabs and a particularly potent right hook were amongst the highlights of the final round as the Belfast fighter finished strongly to advance to the semi-finals.
The 20-year-old will face Robeisy Ramirez Carranza on Friday afternoon after the classy Cuban saw off Great Britain’s Andrew Selby 16-11.