Conlan and Barnes settle for bronze

Published Friday, 10 August 2012
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Michael Conlan will join his Belfast team-mate Paddy Barnes in taking Olympic bronze after both men suffered semi-final defeats.

Conlan and Barnes settle for bronze
Conlan was outclassed by the Cuban. (© Getty)

The 20-year-old flyweight lost 20-10 to Cuba's Robeisy Ramirez Carrazana at the Excel Arena in London on Friday.

His defeat came after fellow Team Ireland fighter Paddy Barnes was narrowly defeated in his light-flyweight bout with China's Zou Shiming.

Conlan slipped three points behind in the first round as his opponent went on the front foot to open up a 6-3 lead.

The gutsy Irish sixth seed was closer in the second but lost it by a score of 4-3.

In the final round the Cuban unleashed a flurry of punches on Conlan after he turned his back, forcing him to take a standing count.

It finished 10-4 and with a final score of 20-10 the west Belfast fighter will come home with a bronze medal at his first Olympics.

The disappointed Irishman said afterwards he lost to a better boxer on the night.

"He was the best fighter of the night," said Conlan.

We have amazing support back home, all great fans, so I'm sorry for letting them down but you'll see me in the future and I'll be a lot better.

Michael Conlan

"His defence was great, he was a better man than me. He didn't punch that hard but he was just sharp in his attacks.

"I was wasting a lot of energy throwing punches. I should have been waiting for my time but I was a bit eager tonight going for a gold medal."

Watching the fight back in Belfast were Michael's friends and his younger brother Sean Paul.

"We're very proud of him," he told UTV. "He boxed his best and that's the best anyone's going to do against that Cuban, everyone's delighted for him.

"He's done everyone proud and he's still coming home with a medal - as long as he's won one fight in the Olympics I'll be happy!

"It's amazing for him and Paddy to get a medal of any colour."

Earlier, Barnes drew his fight with Zou 15-15 in the ExCeL Arena - but bowed out of the 2012 Games 45-44 on countback as a single point swayed the judges in favour of the three-time world champion and defending Olympic champion.

Barnes trailed 11-8 at the end of the second round, but fought back to draw level at 15-15 by the end of the fight.

He connected with a series of rights and lefts as he went all out to cut the deficit in the third, in what was an impressive display from the Belfast man.

Speaking after the match, he said they were all close rounds.

"I wish he had've beaten me by a couple of points cause it's so, so close, it's even more heartbreaking.

"But I got a bronze. I made history. That's a bit of consolation.

"He's very very illusive and hard to pin down," Barnes said of his opponent. "Once I got the three scores in the first round I knew it was going to be a tough fight."

The 25-year-old said the match was a "nightmare".

He continued: "I was actually dreaming of it this morning, but it's turned out to be a nightmare now.

"[Shiming's] tactics worked in the end. We both got a fair crack of the whip," he reasoned, "it could've gone either way and it's just unfortunate it went his way."

Paddy Barnes' family and friends who were watching the fight back home said they "couldn't be prouder" of him.

His brother Gareth told UTV: "I'm well proud of him.

"You can see on his face the reaction that he was disappointed but then again he will get over it and you can't do much but accept it. I couldn't be prouder of him."

Fellow bronze medal winner Hugh Russell said: "He'll be disappointed of course but it's an enormous achievement - he's coming back with a bronze medal from the Olympic Games and it's not a failure.

"This kid is the only person in boxing history to ever win two Olympic medals at different Games and he has to be proud of that."

Barnes won his quarter-final fight on Wednesday against Indian fighter Devendro Laishram.

He is the first Irish boxer to win two medals in consecutive Olympics Games, following his bronze in Beijing in 2008. Zou had already ended his dream of winning gold four years ago, with a 15-0 crushing win.

When questioned about possibly meeting him in the ring again, Barnes commented: "He's getting old, I wish he was older."

Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has congratulated the Belfast pair.

"Our boxers have once again shone on the global stage - proving to be ambassadors for their sport, their communities and themselves," she said.

"But any sense of disappointment is more than eclipsed by a feeling of pride on what has been achieved today, and every day competitors from the North have taken part in competition.

"I applaud all local athletes across the whole range of sports."

Meanwhile Mullingar's John Joe Nevin will box for Olympic gold after beating Cuban Lazaro Alvarez Estrada in their bantamweight semi-final earlier on Friday.

He will fight Luke Campbell of Britain for the title on Saturday.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
23 Comments
dolores fisher in belfast,n.ireland wrote (836 days ago):
i think people need to stop being so begrudging, to our boxers because they have decided to represent ireland as a whole and not a state that was forced upon us , if people want to see themselves as british fair play to them thats not a problem at all its peoples rite, but equally those same people must respect the rest of us who see ourselves as irish and stop forcing the british tag down everyone elses throats. michael conlon and paddy barnes have as much rite as katie taylor and john joe nevin to represent ireland .isnt britain supposed to be all about democracy and parity of esteem and isnt that just doing it a disservice, by being so narrow minded. so get behind these boxers and wish them well and stop behaving like petulant children who cant get their own way all the time. some of us see ourselves as british and are proud of it and for the rest of us we see ourselves as irish and proud of it. give people the room to be what they want to be. then and only then can we truly respect one another.
Alan Andrson in Belfast wrote (837 days ago):
If the uk national lottery doesnt want to fund sports in which Irish nationalists compete perhaps they should consider not funding any sports in NI or transfering the lotto licence for NI to the Irish lotto. Unionists need to consider the full conclustion of what they are saying here. You want Dublin to control in inner city Belfast? Im good with that myself. Because to leave a section of comunity marginalised because of its political allegiance would be racist? You do know that, right?
Skarre in Belfast wrote (837 days ago):
I wish those people above (I'm looking at you Robert, Matt, Wilma) would get their facts straight before coming across as a little bit sectarian. The fact is that if you are born in Northern Ireland you CANNOT box for Team GB the only team you can box for is Team Ireland & that's why the likes of Wayne McCullough (a protestant from the Shankill area) boxed for Ireland, the current rules do not allow Northern Irish boxers to box for Team GB. Simple.
Fintan in Belfast wrote (837 days ago):
Robert and Wilma have been put back in their box I see! If they had actually cared to do some research about the Boxing set-up then maybe they wouldn't have come across as so ignorant and bitter. Pathetic.
Ulysses32 in Belfast wrote (837 days ago):
Sure, s magowan, they could represent Ireland if they wanted to but, as with any Olympic team, they would need to qualify. Take Wayne McCullough, a fantastic boxer from the Shankill Road......
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