Barnes just one bout away from history
Boxing:Belfast light-flyweight Paddy Barnes is just one victory away from becoming the first Irish Olympian to win medals at two Games after he saw off Thomas Essomba of Cameroon 15-10 in his last 16 bout at the ExCel Arena.
Barnes was never behind in the bout, keeping his usual high guard and picking off his opponent with plenty of good lefts. He was 5-3 ahead after the opening round and 11-7 up going into the final round.
Essomba attacked in the final round but Barnes kept his discipline to win the round 4-3 and take the fight by a comfortable five-point margin.
He will now meet India’s Devendro Singh Laishram in Wednesday’s quarter-final bout (8.45pm) after he beat Beijing silver medallist from Serdamba Purevdorj of Mongolia.
Laishram was good value for his 16-11 victory, attacking from the off and winning all three rounds in what was a real shock.
Barnes has plenty of knowledge of Laishram , having sparred against him at the National Stadium in the weeks running up to the Games, when the Indian boxing team travelled to Ireland for a training camp.
If Barnes makes it through that bout, he may meet defending champion Zou Shiming of China, who inexplicably beat him 15-0 in Beijing four years ago.
Zou survived a tricky opening bout and had to call on all the know-how that delivered three world amateur titles in seven years to edge Cuba's Yosbany Veitia Soto.
Fleet-footed Soto, who impressed on his way to the quarter-finals of the world amateur championships last year, was the busier fighter throughout and the 20-year-old delivered a serious challenge to Zou's light-flyweight dominance. But the seasoned Zou, almost 11 years Soto's senior, stayed calm and landed one opportunistic punch after another, winning each round by a single point for a 14-11 victory.
"As number one, there is always pressure but pressure brings out the fighting spirit," Zou, who fights Birzhan Zhakypov of Kazakhstan next, told reporters through a translator.
Zhakypov, a bronze medallist at the world championships in 2005, came from two points down going into the final round to edge out Mark Barriga, the Filipino fighter nicknamed 'Little Pacquiao' after his country's boxing great Manny Pacquiao.