Win propels Reynolds to semi-finals

SLIGO heavyweight Alan Reynolds is through to the semi-finals at the Olympic qualifying tournament in Gothenburg after a devastating performance against English No 1 David Dolan yesterday.

Reynolds forced four standing counts before the referee stopped the contest in the fourth round. Despite his dominance, the Irish champion was only three points ahead going into that final round. However, with three standing counts he required just one more to earn the short route win, for that’s what appears necessary to guarantee victory in Sweden.

Now Reynolds, who has dominated the Irish heavyweight division for the past six years after taking over from his brother, faces a classy Swede, Andreas Gustafsson, in tomorrow’s semi-final.

Apart from the fact that Gustafsson will enjoy home advantage, he proved a formidable opponent at the multi-nations tournament in the Rochestown Park Hotel in Cork last November when he beat talented American, Francisco Palacios, 21-6.

Unfortunately, victory for Reynolds will not guarantee him a place in the Olympic tournament as all the heavyweight places have already been filled, and the winner and runner-up in this division in Gothenburg will be given the first and second reserve places.

Meanwhile, the Irish camp are still seething over the decision that cost light welterweight, Paul McCloskey, his chance of making it to Athens.

On the face of it, the 39-27 decision in favour of the Azerbaijan, Tofiq Ahmedov, appears clear-cut but practically everyone in the arena agreed that the Derry man had been robbed.

“And one would have to agree,” the Irish High Performance Director, Gary Keegan, insisted after reflecting on what was a disastrous result.

“We would have been happy to agree that Paul was two points down after the first round, but he stepped up his performance in the second and if he did not win, he certainly drew. Instead, according to the computer scoring, he lost it by three,” he said.

“We were in no doubt about the fact that he won the third round but, instead, it was given to the Azerbaijan by five hits which left him 11 points behind going into the final round.

“We would claim that Paul won the fourth round as well. He clearly out-punched his opponent but unfortunately the judges saw otherwise and he lost the contest.

“It was a huge disappointment for everyone and particularly for Paul as this was his last chance at qualification. It is hard to accept a decision like this, particularly when you know that a boxer has put so much into it and made so many sacrifices.”

With Limerick southpaw, Andy Lee, the only Irish boxer qualified so far, four more will be in action at the Chowdry Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan, next week when bantamweight Eric Donovan (St. Michael’s, Athy), lightweight Andrew Murray (Cavan), welterweight James Moore (Arklow) and light heavyweight, Kenneth Egan (Neilstown) will be chasing those elusive Olympic places.

It will be Moore’s first shot, as he has been called in ahead of Henry Coyle (Geesala), who beat him in a big upset in the finals of the national senior championships.

Coyle lost both his opening contests at the European championships and the qualifying tournament, and it was decided on a vote to give Moore, a bronze medallist at the world championships in Belfast in 2001, his chance.

Martin Lindsay from Belfast lost his opening bout 49-27 to Kryzyszpov Szot from Poland, as once again the vagaries of the computer scoring system were evident. Despite the fact that the Irish featherweight champion landed at least six clean shots in the first round, he was only credited with one and trailed by 11 points.

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