Irish stars lining up Grand Prix gold rush

THE eight-man Irish squad of Elite boxers completed a perfect day with eight semi-finals wins from eight at the Ostrava Grand Prix in Ostrava city in the Czech Republic yesterday.

Willie McLaughlin, John Joe Nevin, Ray Moylette, Jason Quigley, Darren O’Neill, Con Sheehan, Eric Donovan and Sean Turner advanced to today’s finals at the 11-nation tournament.

McLaughlin, from the Illies Golden Gloves BC in Donegal, stole the show with a magnificent 3-2 verdict over current European welterweight champion Balazs Bascki of Hungary.

And European Youth middleweight champ Quigley, from the Finn Valley BC in Donegal, chalked up a 6-5 verdict over European bronze medallist Mikalai Vesialov of Belarus.

Moylette, who claimed a World Youth title in 2008, rammed home seven unanswered points against Latvian light-welter Manus Palions.

World Championships bronze medallist Nevin progressed on a count-back following a 1-1 tie with home favourite Dusan Chrony of the Czech Republic.

European silver medallist Darren O’Neill, who has moved up to light-heavyweight from middleweight in place of Ken Egan, also booked his ticket into today’s deciders.

The ex Kilkenny minor hurler beat Sergei Kuzim of Belarus, while Tipperary heavyweight Con Sheehan, the current EU champ, out-gunned Sandro Dimfeld of Slovakia 5-2.

Eric Donovan, a bronze medal winner at the 2010 European Championships, hammered Sergei Kunitcin of Belarus 9-1 and Drimnagh super-heavyweight Turner received a walkover.

Irish head coach Billy Walsh and Tony Davitt are working the Irish squads corner in Ostrava and team manager Des Donnelly said it was a perfect day at the office.

“The lads performed magnificently and they will all be going for gold tomorrow. Willie produced a fantastic performance to beat the European champion. It was a close contest but Willie deserved his win.”


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