Ireland’s world champion Michael Conlan provided an exhibition of boxing at the Riocentro earlier today, recording a unanimous points’ victory over the Armenian Aram Avagyan, writes Daragh Ó Conchúir.
Conlan was awarded every round by the three judges apart from one Jose Del Puerto Trueba, who deemed that Avagyan had somehow been the better fighter in the second round.
It was a reminder of the quirks of the scoring system, but was not significant as the ultra-confident 24-year-old bewildered his game opponent.
Conlan has always been comfortable in the spotlight and with the expectation that surrounds him, largely because there is no greater expectation than that he places on himself. Anything less than gold will be a disappointment.
He showed why he is the favourite, and Avagyan had no answer to the variety of punch coming in his direction.
The win now sets up a rematch with Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin, who claimed Conlan’s scalp at the quarter-final stage of the world championships in 2013.
That was a surprise, given that Conlan was an Olympic bronze medallist but the Belfast fighter has moved to a completely different level since and proved at last year’s world championships in Doha that he can handle the pressure.
Victory on Tuesday would mean that Conlan would at least match his London feat but his sights are set much higher now.
What’s more, with his father John a coach in the high performance system that is currently the subject of much criticism, when perhaps such barbs should be aimed at the element of begrudgery surrounding the system that pervades within much of the higher reaches of the IABA, he will have even more motivation to make this a gold-star meet.
The show jumping got off to a disappointing start for Greg Broderick and MHS Going Global, the Team Ireland partnership finishing with eight faults.
This does not rule him out but having not had even a rub the whole way around, Broderick will regret that two of the last three obstacles came down.
The last double that caused them such trouble claimed numerous victims, as did the water.
The competition resumes with further rounds on Tuesday and Wednesday and they will not want much more than a cumulative additional total of four faults if they want to make the top 35 that advance to the final next Friday.