Irish boxers on crest of Mexican wave

FOUR Irish boxers will today battle it out for places in the finals at the world youths championships in Guadalajara, Mexico, after another sensational day for Irish boxing.

In the quarter-finals, lightweight Ray Moylett from the St. Anne’s club in Westport had an emphatic 10-2 victory over Cuba’s Luis Garcia, David Joe Joyce — another product of the St. Michael’s club in Athy — beat Korean welterweight, Kim Yeong, 6-3, Jamie Kavanagh from Crumlin boxing club beat Salazar Mendoza (Costa Rica) when the referee stopped their light welterweight contest in the first round and heavyweight Thomas McCarthy, Oliver Plunkett’s, outpointed Pezhman Seifkhami (Sweden) 7-3.

It’s six years since Andy Lee won Ireland’s last medal in what was then the world junior championships in Havana and up to this year only eight Irish boxers had won medals at this level.

Moylett’s victory over Garcia will go down as one of the most sensational performances of the championships. The previous day he had seen off the challenge of Welshman, Fred Evans.

David Joe Joyce, despite a hand injury, came from a point down to beat Kim Yeong of Korea 6-3 while Jamie Kavanagh completed the clean sweep after dropping and stopping Salazar Mendoza with a solid left hook to the body one minute and 21 seconds into the first round.

“Four medals — it’s just amazing,” was the reaction of Ireland’s Head Coach, Billy Walsh, who is in Sheffield with the Irish senior team preparing for next week’s European championships in Liverpool.

“We have spent years trying to break into those championships but now we find ourselves with four medals and it is a credit to the coaches Jim Moore and Jimmy Payne and their backroom team as well as the boxers who are down there in Mexico,” Walsh said.

“Five years ago, Gary Keegan told us he wanted to make boxing the strongest sport in Ireland and we are succeeding in doing that with three medals from the Olympic Games and now four in Mexico.

“Back then, BBC television came to Dublin to do a documentary on us and, when everything was done, I remember the commentator describing us as the ‘new Cuba’.

“There are very few boxers who can boast of such an emphatic victory over a Cuban as Ray Moylett can, particularly at this level where so much time and effort is put into building the teams for the future.

“Ireland is going to emerge from those championships as one of the big nations in the world which is not bad for a country with a population the size of ours. It is important from the point of view of London 2012 because those boys will be challenging for places on the Olympic team.

In today’s semi-finals, Thomas McCarthy meets Marten Magomedov (Russia) at light heavyweight, David Joe Joyce will meet Oscar Melina (Mexico) at welterweight, Jamie Kavanagh will meet Zdenek Chladek (Czech Republic) at light welterweight and Ray Moylett will meet Aliaksei Haletisch (Belarus) at lightweight.

Olympic silver medallist, Kenneth Egan, is helping the senior squad prepare for the European championships at the training camp in Sheffield.

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