Sean McComb defeats world number one to lay down a marker
Brendan Irvine also advances to last eight at European Championships in Kharkiv
Sean McComb: “It was a tough and tricky fight having boxed each other just a few months ago, but I listened to Zaur in the corner. He had a plan and it worked very well.”
Irish light-welter Sean McComb is putting his trust in Irish head coach Zaur Antia after sensationally doing the double over Russia’s World Elite light-welter champion Vitaly Dunaystev at the European Championships in Kharkiv, Ukraine on Monday.
The split decision win qualifies McComb for the World Championships in Hamburg, Germany in August/September and the World light-welter title is now vacant as Kharkiv is the sole qualifier for Hamburg and Kazakhstan-born Dunaystev is out.
Rio Olympian Brendan Irvine also qualified for Hamburg on Monday after earning a unanimous decision over Turkey’s Bathuhan Citfci to set up Tuesday’s flyweight quarter-final with Spain’s Gabriel Escobar.
McComb beat Kazakhstan-born Dunaystev, the world number one, on a split decision at Dublin’s National Stadium in April amid mumblings of “home town decision”.
But the Belfast light-welter did it again yesterday and it was apparent, as it was in Dublin, that the world champion was struggling against McComb’s tempo, footwork and slick counter-punching in the last-16 battle of the southpaws
The top eight boxers in each weight division in Kharkiv qualify for Hamburg and McComb will now meet England’s Pat McCormack in the quarter-finals on Wednesday with a bronze medal up for grabs.
He said: “It was a tough and tricky fight having boxed each other just a few months ago, but I listened to Zaur in the corner. He had a plan and it worked very well. I haven’t got a chance to watch him (McCormack) out here much.
“What I do know is he’s got as far so he must be doing something right, I will leave the plan to Zaur again and the rest of the team because I have trust in that.”
Meanwhile, former Irish head coach Billy Walsh, now chief seconds with USA Boxing, helped steer the USA to 14 medals - two of which were gold - and six World places at the Americas’ Men’s and Women’s Championships in Honduras over the weekend.