Published Tuesday, 07 August 2012
Michael Conlan of Ireland (blue) defends against Nordine Oubaali. (© Getty)
There was nothing between the two fighters in a competitive first round at the ExCel Arena in London on Tuesday.
The judges scored it five points apiece after three minutes of intense action.
The pace upped in the second round and Conlan was pushed all the way.
His sharp punching kept the Team Ireland man firmly in the contest, but it remained all square with the score cards reading 12 points each heading into the third and deciding round.
Conlan, who got stronger as the contest wore on, outworked his opponent and it was his high work rate and accuracy saw him home.
He moved ahead to 22-18 to clinch victory and ensure he gets at least a bronze medal.
UTV watched the fight with some of Michael's friends and coaches from St John Bosco's who had gathered in west Belfast.
"It's unreal, I'm so proud of him," said Gerard McCafferty.
"If you see the atmosphere in here tonight everybody was in that ring with him.
"We've got another medal tonight and we're so happy - but we're not happy with bronze, we're going for the gold here!"
Stevie Martin said: "I'm delighted, over the moon for him. The first round I thought he scored two up and I couldn't believe it when it was twelve each in the second.
"But he dug deep and showed his true grit and that's what he has, plenty of heart."
And it seems Conlon's next fight could be against a Team Ireland boxing colleague, as the 20-year-old was making too much noise for Paddy Barnes.
SDLP Lower Falls Councillor Colin Keenan has congratulated the young west Belfast man on his success.
"Michael's victory was truly superb and is the product of many years of preparation and training. For the people of west Belfast, Michael is an example that demonstrates that nothing is impossible - he is an inspiration to rest of us.
"On behalf of the SDLP I wish Michael even greater success as he prepares for the semi-finals and I look forward to his return to Belfast as an Olympic Champion."
Barnes also has a chance to secure a bronze medal on Wednesday when he takes on India's Devendro Laishram in the light-flyweight quarter-finals.
© UTV News