SIX members of GB Boxing’s team and three members of Ireland’s have progressed to the semi-finals of the European Championships in Samakov, Bulgaria.
Harvey Horn, Qais Ashfaq, Pat McCormack, Joe Cordina, Joshua Buatsi and Muhammad Ali all won yesterday to progress to the medal stages and guarantee qualification for the World Championships in Doha, Qatar in October.
Michael Conlan, Dean Walsh and Joe Ward all progressed for Ireland.
Horn impressively outboxed his number two-seeded Polish opponent Dawid Jagodzinski over three and will face Rufat Huseynov of Azerbaijan on Friday as he vies for a place in the 49kg final.
Ashfaq overcame World Championships bronze medallist Mykola Butsenko of Ukraine on points.
McCormack, competing in his first major tournament, was under constant pressure from Spain’s Johann Orozco Ojeda over the three rounds but kept a cool head and ran out a clear points winner on every scorecard.
Ali, one of the team’s hottest prospects, dominated Armenian Koryun Soghomonyan to win a unanimous decision and move into Friday’s semi-finals.
Lightweight Joe Cordina picked up GB’s first stoppage win of the tournament when a batch of well-placed shots damaged the already injured eye of Italy’s number one seed Domenico Valentino, forcing the referee to stop the contest in the first round.
At 81kg Joshua Buatsi put in a tremendous performance to see off talented Pole Mateusz Tryc on points.
The six will join Joe Joyce and Josh Kelly in Doha, who had already qualified prior to the European Championships.
Middleweight Troy Williamson suffered GB’s first loss of the competition, losing a tight split decision to Italy’s Salvatore Cavallaro. If Cavallaro wins his semi-final, Williamson will still qualify for the World Championships.
2011 European champion Ward picked up a unanimous decision over Mikhail Dauhaliavets, of Belarus, a London 2012 Olympian.
He will now meet Croatia’s No. 1 seed Hrvoje Sep in the light-heavy semi-final on Friday.
London 2012 bronze medallist Conlan, a silver medal winner at the 2013 European Championships, outpointed Denmark’s Frederik Jensen to book his place in the semi-finals, though he has already secured his place at Rio 2016 through the World Series of Boxing (WSB).
Walsh beat Hungarian light-welter Nyeki Georgian on a unanimous decision to move into the medal stages.
Adam Nolan bowed out of the tournament after losing out on a unanimous decision to Belarusian welter Pavel Kastramin, though can still qualify for Doha if Kastramin wins his semi-final bout.
Ireland has six boxers – Conlan, Walsh, Ward, Michael O’Reilly, Brendan Irvine and Sean McComb -qualified for Doha, with the latter three earning their spots through June’s European Games.
Today is a rest day in the European Championships.