Barnes proves a knockout as five Irish boxers make quarter-finals
Joe Ward impresses at light heavyweight but McComb bows out in Kazakhstan
Ireland’s Paddy Barnes celebrates after knocking out Kenya’s Simon Nzioki during their flyweight last 16 bout at the World Boxing Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Photograph: Paul Mohan/Sportsfile
Ireland’s Joe Ward lands a left on Hungary’s Norbert Harsca during their light heavyweight last 16 bout at the World Championship in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
Elvin Isayev of Azerbaijan lands a left to the head of Ireland’s Seán McComb during their Lightweight Last 16 bout at the World Boxing Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Photograph: Paul Mohan/Sportsfile
A devastating left from flyweight Paddy Barnes finished his fight in the first round and sent him into the quarter-finals of the World Championships in Almaty, bringing to five the a total of Irish fighters taking part in medal fights on Wednesday.
Barnes, who has just moved up a weight division from light flyweight, where he won his Olympic medal, ended the contest less than half way through against Kenyan Simon Nzioki.
“I wanted it to last three rounds because now I have to go back and lose some weight,” quipped Barnes afterwards.
Just finished training after my fight there! Good KO win against Kenya, they deserve that after beating me last time! #belfastboys— Paddy Barnes (@paddyb_ireland) October 22, 2013
From the off Barnes cut down the ring and from a tight defence started throwing accurate shots. The Kenyan backed off but Barnes, as tidy as ever, followed, throwing punches and landing a left early on.
It was that Barnes left that came to end Nzioki’s interest in the competition when he caught him with a powerful hook. Nzioki went down on the canvas. The referee stepped in and the fight was over.
“I always had it,” said Barnes of his new found power. “It was always speed work I was working on. Now it’s knocking people out for fun.”
The 19-year-old from Moate looked relaxed throughout the three rounds and after a cagey start from both fighters, Ward slowly began to step up the pace.
Although a little short on sparring because of an injured hand prior to the championships, Ward looked sharper as the fight went on and in the third hit top gear once or twice to labour the point to the judges that he was in control and leading the fight.
In the end all three judges took Ward’s cue and awarded him all three rounds. Ward, seeded six in the tournament, next meets Russia third seed Nikita Ivanov for a place in the semi-finals and a guaranteed bronze medal.
“The second round he came back at me but I’m happy with the way it went. The second and third I came back at him,” said Ward.
“Of course I have to up it for the next one. There’s another nine minutes and I know I’m going to have to up my game for the Russian.”
Earlier, Seán McComb lost on a split decision and was denied a place in the quarter-finals.
The Belfast lightweight won the final round of his fight with Azerbaijan’s Elvin Isayev but didn’t do enough overall against a direct and aggressive opponent.
Southpaw McComb started brightly and kept Isayev at a distance for the first three minutes, but fell behind on the card.
Then as the bout progressed the smaller more robust opponent began to get through and as McComb slowed, his options of staying at arm’s length from the dangerous puncher diminished.
Although McComb kept his shape to win the final round, Isayev was always chasing and hoping that the Irishman would fall into a punching war. While that never happened McComb probably fell short on aggression and a bigger back up to his effective jab.
“The first round I was flying. I got the distance alright,” said the disappointed McComb, who is boxing at this level for the first time.
“The second round I was trying to be a bit more aggressive but then he started coming on me strong.”
WEDNESDAY’S QUARTER-FINAL SCHEDULE
AFTERNOON SESSION (From 9am Irish time, seedings in brackets)
MIDDLEWEIGHT (75kg) – Bout 385: Jason Quigley (5) v Zoltan Harcsa (Hungary) (4).
BANTAMWEIGHT (56kg) - Bout 391: Michael Conlan (2) v Vladimir Nikitin (Russia) (10).
HEAVYWEIGHT (91kg) – Bout 397: Tommy McCarthy v Yamil Peralta (Argentina (2).
EVENING SESSION (From 2pm Irish time)
FLYWEIGHT (52kg) – Bout 399: Paddy Barnes (5) v Jasurbek Latipov (Uzbekistan) (4)
LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT (81kg) – Bout 414: Joseph Ward (6) v Nikita Ivanov (Russia) (3)