ALL five of the boxers who represented GB and Ireland yesterday at the European Championships in Samakov, Bulgaria advanced to the quarter-final stages with wins.
Muhammad Ali entered the fray at 52kgs against Moldova’s Alexandr Riscan, whom he beat at the European Games two months ago.
Despite taking a big shot in the opening round, Ali controlled the bout to earn a unanimous decision and will face Armenia’s Koryun Soghomonyan in today’s quarter-final.
Welshman Joe Cordina was under constant pressure from Dawid Michelus but he out-boxed and out-manoeuvred his Polish opponent to earn a spot in the 60kg quarter-final, where he will meet number one seed, Domenico Valentino, the Italian former world champion.
Light-heavyweight Joshua Buatsi managed to negotiate the height and reach advantages of his Estonian opponent, Ainar Karlson, to pull away on the cards and will now face Poland’s Mateusz Tryc in the 81kg quarter-final.
The three of them join team mates Harvey Horn, Qais Ashfaq, Pat McCormack and Troy Williamson in the quarter-finals.
Irish southpaws Adam Nolan and Joe Ward both produced impressive wins to join team mates Michael Conlan and Dean Walsh in today’s quarter-finals.
Nolan shocked Russia’s No. 1 seed Radzhab Butaev in the welter class by turning in one of his best performances to win by one point on all three cards.
Ward meanwhile dominated Georgian light-heavy Nikoloz Selchniashvili, who received two public warnings in the second round for hitting with the inside of his glove and using his elbow.
The European Championships is part of the qualification pathway for Rio 2016 and boxers that finish in the top six in their weight class in Sofia will secure a place at the AIBA World Championships in Doha in September 2015, which is a qualifying event for next year’s Olympic Games.