John Joe Nevin’s dreams of Olympic gold were dashed in London tonight as Britain’s Luke Campbell edged their bantamweight final 14-11 at the ExCel Arena.
The home fighter opened brightly and took the first round by 5-3, which left the Mullingar native chasing the fight.
But chase it he did and he took the second round 5-4.
Campbell came good in the last round, however, and with Nevin going down once the Briton secured the bout on a final scoreline of 14-11.
Nevin looked extremely relaxed as he made his way to the ring, but it was Campbell who settled into the bout quicker.
The first round was a cagey affair for the most part, but the jab of his southpaw Englishman was doing the damage on the scoreboard.
Nevin's tactics seemed to play into the hands of Campbell to an extent, and the Hull man landed with a slick combination, and although Co Westmeath man also landed it was Campbell's sharper shots that gave him a deserved 5-3 first round lead.
But Nevin was on the attack from the start of the second round, and he started to breach his opponent’s stout defence, with both hands of the man from the Cavan Boxing Club finding the target.
The man in the red singlet was deemed to have taken the round 5-4. It left Nevin trailing by 9-8 heading into the deciding three minutes, which was a mountain to climb with Campbell boxing in front of his home crowd.
But there was no denying Campbell was the better man on the night, as Nevin was punished time and time again for leaving his head exposed.
The decisive moment came with just over 90 seconds remaining, as Nevin hit the canvas after a looping right hand from Campbell connected. There wasn’t huge power in the shot, but it caught Nevin off balance and he toppled over.
The knock-down left Nevin in an impossible position as the harder he tried to pin down Campbell, the easier it was for the Englishman to pick him off.
When the final bell rang there was no real doubt about the result, but Nevin’s disappointment will be tempered by the silver he was guaranteed and the tremendous performances he delivered en route to the decider.