Ireland’s John Joe Nevin will add an Olympic medal to the two World Championship bronzes he has already won after beating Mexico’s Oscar Valdez Fierro 19-13 in their Olympic bantamweight quarter-final.
The Mullingar man survived a final round knockdown to see off his aggressive opponent and book a semi-final clash against Cuba’s top seed Alvaro Estrada on Friday with a place in the Olympic final at stake.
Nevin dedicated his win to his cousin David, who died in February at the age of 25. He said: “He was meant to be here and I’d like to thank him. He always told me I was the best in the world. He inspired me to get into boxing.”
Nevin started the fight on the back-foot, enjoying some success picking off the former World Youth champion’s crude advances, but the pair were locked at 5-5 after the first, and the Mexican started the second well.
The Irishman struggled to regain his pose as the Mexican began relying on heavy right hands, but Nevin’s excellent movement blocked the majority of shots and his more patient approach saw him edge into a three point lead.
Nevin was forced to cling on to see the bout out after being dropped and clearly winded by a left hook to the body, but the judges rewarded his cleaner work and a clearly emotional Nevin celebrated in style.
He added: “I got back from Beijing and hung on for four more years when some lads wanted me to go professional. I’d trade the two bronzes I’ve got for an Olympic medal. Hopefully I can turn it into a different colour now.”