Campbell beats Nevin in a classic
Boxing:John Joe Nevin fell three points short in his bid to emulate Michael Carruth in the Olympic bantamweight final. The Irish champion chased Britain’s Luke Campbell for three rounds but lost to the rangy Yorkshire man 14-11.
Nevin returns home as Ireland’s best male performer at the Olympics, with Katie Taylor’s gold, Nevin’s silver and three bronze medals equalling the team of 1956 which also won five medals including Ronnie Delany’s gold in Melbourne.
Nevin was caught by Campbell almost instantly as he was a little sluggish getting into gear. Remaining patient Nevin later scored with a flurry of scoring shots but the talented Campbell's right jab was a difficulty for the Irishman, who trailed 5-3 after the first.
Nevin had to operate well inside Cambell's hit zone to score but the southpaw proved very effective, and although Nevin brought the tempo up and pressed harder in the second three minutes, Campbell was able to keep him at range and score with his longer reach, especially the jab.
But trailing by just one point going into the final round, Nevin was still comfortably in the fight and remained patient. But midway through he walked into Campbell’s right and found himself on the canvas. Nevin wasn’t hurt but the knock down required a standing count and bolstered considerably Campbell’s hopes.
There was little argument when the bell went for the end of the fight and the Englishman was declared a 14-11 winner. Nevin too will take some comforts that he is now in the same Olympic club as former world champion and silver medallists Wayne McCullough and Kenny Egan.
Nevin admitted he was devastated with the defeat and that he had wanted to go all the way after making it to the final.
“I’d have taken a bronze medal coming here but when I got so far I wanted to go the whole way,” said Nevin.
“I feel I’m a failure because I didn’t and because I’ve beaten him well before. I’m devastated to lose but saying that, I’ve gotten so far and a month ago I was talking about not coming.
“I’m heartbroken now. I wanted the gold. I wanted to join the club with Katie Taylor and Michael Carruth but if it’s not meant to be it’s not meant to be. Luke is a tremendous boxer. He was at the final of the World Championships and now he’s after winning the Olympics. I can take nothing away from him. He’s very tall and rangy.
“I don’t think I performed to my best on the day but I’m happy still with a silver medal. It was always going to be tough.
“He got his tactics right on the day and maybe I could have done more but he kind of got me to come forward a little bit but there was still noting in it. There’s still nothing between us but he’s a tremendous boxer and I can take nothing away from him.”