John Joe Nevin stands one more win from a guaranteed Olympic medal after a 15-10 win over Kanat Abutalipov at ExCeL today – but before his next bout Nevin has more pressing concerns in the Olympic Village.
While Nevin’s Ireland team-mates Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlon have been clogging Twitter with shots of famous athletes like Usain Bolt and Novak Djokovic, Nevin’s particular heroines have so far remained out of reach.
Nevin, who will fight for at least bronze against Mexico’s Oscar Valdez on Sunday evening, said: “I’m just hoping to see the two Williams sisters and get my picture with them. It would be very nice to meet them, though we won’t say why in the newspapers.”
The 23-year-old Mullingar bantamweight is clearly relishing his second experience of a Games having gone to Beijing as a teenage novice and been beaten in his second bout by eventual winner Enkhbat Badar-Uugun.
Nevin’s slick, back-foot boxing saw him build on a three-point lead at the end of the first round but he incurred the wrath of the referee, who twice gave him a ticking-off for retreating as the desperate Kazakh gave chase.
Nevin acknowledged he can still make plenty of improvements ahead of his clash with the Mexican, but admitted inconsistency in his year building up to the Games made his dream of an Olympic medal still far from certain.
He added: “I was nearly beaten in the senior semi-final (by Sean McComb) because of a bad performance and when I was beaten twice in France I was talking to (coach Billy) Walsh about whether I should go to the Olympics.
“On a good performance I can go all the way but on a bad performance anyone can beat me. Now I’m one fight away from being in the semi-final and it shows you what I can change if I think about how I can go out to perform.”