Ireland's Aidan Walsh put on a fine controlled boxing display to claim a unanimous points victory over Albert Mengue Ayissi and move into the quarter-finals of the men’s welterweight division at the Tokyo Olympics.
Moving freely around the ring from the first bell, Walsh appeared to take the measure of his opponent early on as the Irishman was happy to fight on the defensive let his opponent come onto him as he picked him off.
Showing all the early aggression Mengue Ayissi was the busier of the two fighters in the first few minutes but was scoring with very little. Swinging wildly at times, Walsh was able to step out of danger, flick out his jab and move back out of range.
Walsh finished the round strongly, scoring with a neat combination with 30 seconds to go and although Mengue Ayissi managed to land with one of his big hooks just before the bell, four of the five judges scored the round in Walsh’s favour.
Walsh continued to be successful fighting on the counter, catching Mengue Ayissi with some nice early scoring punches in the second round as his opponent continued to swing wildly.
Mengue Ayissi cut an increasingly frustrated figure and as his discipline went and he was deducted a point for punching the back of Walsh's head.
Walsh meanwhile continued to pick his punches and was landing freely with his jab with the Cameroon fighter left chasing shadows. When the bell went for the end of the round all five judges gave the round to the Irishman.
A second points deduction for the Cameroon fighter at the start of the third round left him chasing a knockout punch that he was never likely to land and Walsh adopted a safety-first approach, becoming more economical with his punches, throwing only when he was sure he would land.
A fine right-hook just before the bell sounded underlined Walsh's dominance and when the scorecards were counted it was a unanimous decision for the Irishman.
Tougher challenges lay ahead for Walsh but he’ll be pleased with a good morning’s work in Tokyo.
"The coaches will have a plan, so I'll just listen to them and go out and do it all again..." - Belfast boxer Aidan Walsh looks forward to his quarter-final at the Olympics following his facile victory. pic.twitter.com/AV4x17qDnf— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) July 27, 2021
Speaking after his bout, Walsh said it was "amazing" to get his Olympic journey under way.
"I just take each fight as it comes," he said. "It doesn't matter if its an Olympic final or an All-Ireland final, every fight is as important to me as them all.
"It's just about listening to the coaches, listening to the tactics and getting in there and implementing them on my opponents."
Walsh had special mention for his sister, and boxing teammate, Michaela, who lost out in her last-16 women's 57kg featherweight bout yesterday.
"It's amazing she's here, I love when she's at my fights," he said, adding: "She's actually calmed down a wee bit at my last few fights, I think people told her off."
"To share [this experience] along with my sister and the whole team is incredible.
"When we qualified together and we came out here together and it's just special and for me that means a lot so I'm very grateful."
Walsh also said he got some advice from Belfast boxer and Olympic bronze medalist from Moscow 1980, Hugh Russell.
"He said to treat every fight like it was your last fight on earth, just give it your everything."
With a quarter-final to come, Walsh said the plan was to go back to the Olympic Village to relax and recover before listening to his coaches once more and going out to "do it again".