Brilliant Conlan adds another medal
Olympic Boxing:Belfast flyweight Michael Conlan secured Ireland a third boxing medal at the London Olympics last night with a 22-18 win over France’s Nordine Oubaali. It took a thunderous quarter-final third round from the 20-year-old to separate the two men at the Excel Arena and guarantee Ireland another bronze.
Conlan, a natural orthodox who boxed the bout southpaw, ducked underneath a flying right hook from Oubaali almost immediately, as the Frenchman roared out of his corner with intent. It was evidence of Conlan’s brilliant evasiveness, and there was plenty more to come, but he couldn’t avoid everything that was thrown at him.
Nor could the Frenchman, as Conlan scored on the back-foot brilliantly at times, mainly with his right-hook, and the two went in at the bell level at five apiece, though the Irishman admitted later he was fortunate on the score.
Nothing could separate them after the second either, but Conlan produced the cleaner punches in a 7-7 round and the 27-year-old Oubaali looked to be tiring as the round wore on.
The third was a war as both boxers threw everything at each other to get over the line, but Conlan made himself difficult to hit and landed with late flurries to take the round 10-6 and move on to the semi-finals with a four-point win.
“It was a very close fight and I knew it was always going to be,” said Conlan. “We talked about tactics and at the start, it was the very slow start, that I’m kinda famous for, but I’m glad I had a level round, I was lucky enough.
“Next round I stepped it up a little bit and it was still level, Billy told me to go for it and I knew I had to and I dug deep. I’ve a sore head now. It was a hard fight, he hits hard, it was always going to be a tough fight.
“I’ve fought him three times and that was the third time I beat him, but it’s harder to beat someone three times than it is to beat them once.
“I knew he was always going to do that (attack), because he’s a come forward fighter, and our plan was to push him back, and it did work in the end, but just had to be patient and had to keep my cool instead of losing it and losing the fight."
Next up for the youngster is Robeisy Ramirez Carrazana, a classy operator from Cuba who beat Britain's Andrew Selby 16-11 in the last quarter-final.
Selby, who threw a lot of punches, was picked off at will by the 18-year-old Cuban champion but Conlan is sure there's more to come from him.
“This is only me warming up, you haven’t seen the best of Michael Conlan yet."