Emmet Brennan was overcome by raw emotion after he went down fighting against leading medal contender Dilshodbek Ruzmetov in his light-heavyweight bout at the iconic Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo.

The wily Uzbek fighter prevailed on a unanimous decision, and while Brennan's accuracy let him down on occasion, his heart and punch rate never faltered.

Speaking after the fight, Brennan told RTÉ Sport: "I knew he was good, but I have the belief that I can beat anyone.

"I knew it was going to be a tough task, but I did think that I was going to win.

"He was very, very sharp, and a very good counter-boxer. He spoiled a bit, but he did what he had to do to win the fight.

"It's gutting though, absolutely gutting."

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A major part of the Olympic odyssey for many competitors is just qualifying for the Games, but despite making huge personal sacrifices, the Dublin boxer didn't get to Tokyo in one piece, with a litany of injuries hampering his preparations and compromising his ability to perform at his optimum level.

"Without my family, I wouldn't be here," the 30-year-old added.

"I know I didn't let them down, but you want to win here.

"I've Credit Union loans out, I've worked part-time and trained full-time, but my family are the big support.

"I've been injured for six months. It's tough, the biggest fight of your life, and your body lets you down. It's just tough."

Elaborating on the nature of those injuries, Brennan pointed to his left side and added: "Elbow, shoulder, ribs - I got a smack in the ribs at the end of the first round.

"I hadn't sparred. I've done about two rounds of sparring since the qualifiers and I did five rounds of sparring before the qualifiers.

"I thought the ribs were alright, and they were until the last 10 or 20 seconds of the first round, and he caught me and just took the wind out of me.

"Can I say a huge 'thanks' to everybody at home from Dublin. The support has been unreal. I never thought I'd get this far. It's heartbreaking."