Kelly earns bronze at least
FLYWEIGHT Damaen Kelly augmented Ireland's rich boxing tradition with an impressive win over Italy's Carmine Molario in the quarter finals of the European Amateur Championships in Vejle, Denmark, last night.
Kelly, a member of the Holy Trinity club in Belfast, is guaranteed at least a bronze medal from his endeavours to date. Using plenty of ring craft and a variety winner to clinch a place in the last four where he will meet Russian Albert Pakeev.
It was a marvellous way for Kelly to celebrate his 23rd birthday last night and his performances in the championship he won his previous two contests prior to last night's win by margins of 12-1 and 8-2 suggest he will take some stopping.
Unfortunately, Kelly's club mate Brian Magee failed in his bid to add to Ireland's medal haul. Middleweight Magee was a first round loser to Jean Paul Mendy in his quarter final bout last night, although he at least has the satisfaction of joining Kelly on the trip to the Olympic Games in Atlanta this summer.
Magee, ironically, was ahead in his fight with Mendy when he was floored by a right hook and, although the referee allowed the bout to continue, the Ulsterman was caught for a second time which left the match official little option other than to halt the contest.
Heavyweight Cathal O'Grady and light welterweight Francis Barrett will have the chance to fight it out with other pre-quarter final round casualties for the best loser berths on offer. There are three "wild cards" available in the heavyweight division and 19 year old O'Grady has high hopes of claiming one.