Mixed day for Irish boxers
Cavan BC flyweight Ceire Smith (pictured) bowed out yesterday at the European Games in Baku following a pulsating contest with Salana Sagatavea. The Russian earned a split verdict (39-37, 39-37, 37-39) after a 51kg slug fest.
Tipperary super-heavy Dean Gardiner, in his second fight back since breaking his right hand in the World Series of Boxing in February, also had to settle for a top-eight finish, losing a unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) to Tony Yoka.
Yoka's crisper left jab and mobility proved to be the deciding factor. The French orthodox took the first two rounds, but Gardiner battled back to claim the last.
Earlier yesterday, Brendan Irvine did claim a spot in the semi-finals, and a definite medal, as the Antrim light-fly produced the performance of his career to beat Azerbaijan's Salman Alizada, the No 1 seed, on a split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29).