O'Neill and Nevin safely through
Olympic Boxing: Ireland’s first day in the boxing ring proved highly successful as both John Joe Nevin and Darren O’Neill cruised easily into the next round at the ExCel Arena. Bantamweight Nevin won a massive 21-6 contest over Denmark’s Dennis Ceylan with captain O’Neill equally impressive in his 15-6 defeat of Nigerian Muideen Akanji.
Nevin, the first of the Irish to step into the London Olympic ring, was sure footed from the start. Although head coach Billy Walsh measured his bantamweight’s performance as “average” the 21-6 score line suggested the coach was playing mind games after an entirely one sided fight.
Twice a medal winner at World Championship level, Nevin had a cagey opening round but when the initial nerves evaporated he scored at will.
The Dane found himself 5-2 down after the first round and although he returned with greater urgency in the second, Nevin picked him off any time his guard opened. When Nevin went to 13-4 after the second round the fight was over.
“He was real nervous first round. I think he was taken aback by the size of the support,” said Walsh. “He was a little nervous at the beginning of it but once he got back to doing what he is very, very good at in the second round he took control.”
O’Neill was slower than Nevin to go up through the gears but a big second round, which the Irish middleweight won 8-2, put distance between him and his Nigerian opponent. In a controlled performance O’Neill won 15-6.
“Look, the draw came out yesterday. I didn’t know who this boxer was,” he said after the bout. “We had a quick look at him had a job at hand to do. The second round I started getting my distance a bit more.”
Nevin is back in the ring on Wednesday and O'Neill Thursday. Adam Noland makes his Olympic debut on Sunday night.