John Joe Nevin is into the bantamweight final after defeating Cuban Lazaro Alvarez Estrada in their semi-final bout at the London Olympics today.
Nevin was clearly the classier boxer throughout, finding his man with a wide range of shots as Alvarez, a world champion, struggled to pin the evasive Nevin down.
It was a tentative start as Nevin tried to find his range, but it didn’t take long and he landed a right on the chin early on. He followed that up with another score following a lovely combination, but his southpaw opponent hit back and caught him with a long left.
Nevin continued to show his skill and speed and ended the round 5-3 ahead.
Round two had both boxers showing off a wide selection of punches. Nevin followed a hard body shot with a huge right cross, but was caught with a left hook in return.
Nevin continued to pick off his punches and when Alvarez tried to counter, Nevin’s speed had him elsewhere. The Mullingar man led 12-9 after round two.
Nevin really came into his own in the final round knowing the Cuban had to come forward in search of scores.
Nevin bided his time and near enough picked out his punches as he pleased.
"It just seems to be getting better as it goes along. I’m just focused and enjoying the whole thing" - John Joe Nevin
He took a few shots himself as the Cuban piled forward, but had time for an Ali shuffle and a bit of show-boating before the fight ended with Nevin taking the final round 7-5 for a 19-14 victory and in the procees a silver medal at least.
Nevin said it felt amazing to secure only Ireland's fourth medal since the 2000 Sydney Games, but quoting the band Queen - whose hits have been used as entrance music at the boxing arena - the Mullingarman said he would not just settle for bronze.
"As Kenneth Egan said he enjoyed it in Beijing and that is what took him so far. Kenny was like a God to me and now I’m in the same position as him. Hopefully I can go one step better.
"No matter what the outcome I can hold my hand up and say I enjoyed the Games this time. I’m not worrying and I’m not putting myself under pressure. I’ll go in there and do my thing and if it’s good enough on the day it is good enough.
"We knew we had a tough one. We knew he would be favourite. As our psychologist Gerry Hussey always says, the script can always be overwritten. It shows any one can win on the day. That is why you have to give it your best performance."