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Sunday 4 December 2016

Michael Conlan makes it to a final date

Belfast native only the second Irishman to reach world decider

Michael Conlan, Ireland, celebrates after beating Dzmitry Asanau, Belarus, in their Men's Bantamweight 56kg Semi-Final bout. AIBA World Boxing Championships, Semi-Finals, Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiyah Arena, Doha, Qatar
Michael Conlan, Ireland, celebrates after beating Dzmitry Asanau, Belarus, in their Men's Bantamweight 56kg Semi-Final bout. AIBA World Boxing Championships, Semi-Finals, Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiyah Arena, Doha, Qatar

MICHAEL Conlan has cruised into the bantamweight final at the World championship at Doha.

The Irish team captain proved much too crafty for his 19-year-old opponent Dzmitry Asanau from Belarus.

Astonishingly, two of the judges gave the Belarussian teenager the second round which technically left the fight hanging in the balance but really there wasn’t the slightest doubt about the outcome.

Having won the first round on all three judges’ cards; Conlan did likewise in the final round to fashion a unanimous 3-0 on a 30-27; 29-28, 29-28 score.

He becomes only the second ever Irish boxer to reach a World championship final following in the footsteps of middleweight Jason Quigley in 2013. His success means that Ireland are now certain of winning at least one silver medal at the championships.

This is Conlan’s older brother’s Jamie’s birthday so the 23-year-old Belfast man dedicated the win to him. But his sights are set on winning the gold medal in Wednesday’s final in which he will meet Murodjon Akhmadaliev from Uzbeckistan.

“The final will be for my daughter,” said Conlan. “I am really looking forward to it. I was aware that two of the judges had given the second round to him so the coaches told me I needed the last round.

“I needed to have patience, I didn’t panic and I had to stick to the game plan. He is a young lad and I knew he would fold and he wouldn’t have the patience,” said Conlan who avoided virtually every punch that the Belarussian bantamweight threw and then punished him when he got caught inside.

Portlaoise middleweight has lost his semi-final on a majority 2-1 decision.

The 22-year-old lacked nothing in effort or bravery but had to gave way to the 19-year-old Bektemir Melikuziev from Uzbekistan who is rated as one of the hottest properties in world amateur boxing right now.

However, O’Reilly can still qualify for the Olympics by winning a box-off on Thursday against the other defeated semi-finalist Hosam Abdin from Egypt.

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