Nevin into final in supreme style


Boxing:John Joe Nevin secured an Olympic silver medal with a classy 19-14 win over Cuban world champion Lazaro Alvarez Estrada at the ExCel Arena this afternoon. Britain's Luke Campbell, who beat Japan's Satoshi Shimizu 20-11, will stand between him and a gold when the pair meet in the final tomorrow evening (8.45pm).

A brilliant first round from the Mullingar man laid the foundation, but it wasn’t a case of hanging on to the two-point lead, Nevin won the next by one to open the gap and then the third, by two, for a five-point win.

Ireland coach Billy Walsh described it as a "masterclass" afterwards.

"To go from despair to joy in half an hour," said Walsh referring to the Paddy Barnes defeat to Shiming Zou earlier. "John Joe has been absolutely brilliant all week. Each fight he has got better, improved all week. Today he gave a masterclass of boxing. This guy had no answer to him. He was bewildered and gave up in the third round because he knew he could not catch John Joe."

Nevin wasn't about to disagree, he knows he's been getting better and he knows why. He's having fun.

"I am enjoying the whole thing," said the man who left Beijing four years ago with hothing but regret. "As Kenneth Egan said he enjoyed it in Beijing and that’s what helped take him so far. Now I am in the same position as him.

"Hopefully I can go one step further. I am enjoying the whole thing no matter what the outcome of it. I am enjoying the Games this time. I am not worrying, not putting myself under pressure, but going in and doing my thing. If it is good enough on the day, it is good enough.

"I am over the moon. I knew he was going to be tough. As our psychologist Gerry Hussey says, ‘the script can be always over-written.’ I over-wrote the odds today. It shows you that anyone can win on the day. That’s why you have to give it your best performance and not beat yourself."

Nevin was quicker to the punch and harder to hit than the Cuban in the first. He kept his distance but when he chose to move, Alvarez's reactions were always a fraction too late as the Irishman moved into a 5-3 lead.

Nevin opened the second with a big right that rocked his opponent. Alvarez began to chase the Irishman but his only scores came in response to Nevin landing a blow of his own and the gap widened with that round scored 7-6 in favour of the blue corner.

The Westmeath native played with fire in the third, when shuffling his feet for the crowd, and he may well get a quiet talking to for that because Alvarez scored in response. However, Nevin was clearly the better boxer in the dying minutes as the Cuban ran out of ideas and when the bell went both boxers were in no doubt as the result.

Nevin has met Campbell twice, losing last year on a countback in the semi-final of the world championships on Baku.In 2009 EU championships, an inexperienced Englishman was beaten 13-2.

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