MICHAEL CONLAN made history at the World championships in Doha, Qatar. He defeated tough Uzbek Murodjon Akhmadaliev in the 56kgs final to become the first Irishman to win World gold.
Conlan was drawn into a battle with the aggressive southpaw. The Uzbek swarmed forward and after the first round the Irishman elected to meet him head on. In the third Michael strayed on to a hefty right hook. With an audible crack the punch dropped Conlan for the first time in his career but he rose and won a unanimous decision.
“It’s been my goal to be World champion,” Conlan beamed afterwards. “Heading into the Olympic Games as a World champion, it’s a great achievement.”
Conlan’s team-mate Michael O’Reilly was competing in a third place box-off. Victory would have guaranteed him an Olympic place. Instead he was left bitterly disappointed as the decision went to Egypt’s solid but more limited Hosam Abdin.
Yasniel Toledo Lopez, who has already qualified for the Olympic Games through the World Series of Boxing, withdrew from his 64kgs box-off. It means Thailand’s Wuttichai Masuk will now go to Rio 2016. In a 56kgs third place box-off Shiva Thapa lost a unanimous decision to Belarus’ Dzmitry Asanau.
Flashy Cuban light-flyweight Johanys Argilagos played a starring roll, showboating as he lofted shots round Vasilii Egorov’s guard. The Russian dropped him in the third round but Argilagos had already done enough to make sure of a unanimous victory. Arlen Lopez won another gold medal for Cuba, beating Uzbekistan’s Bektemir Melikuziev.
Russia did secure two gold medals. At 64kgs Vitaly Dunaytsev took a unanimous decision over Uzbekistan’s Fazliddin Gaibnazarov and at 91kgs Evgeny Tishchenko got the nod over Cuba’s Erislandy Savon. The latter worked his way into the bout and forced the Russian on to the backfoot, but not to the satisfaction of the judges.
Come back to Boxing News Online tomorrow for live updates on the rest of the finals at the World championships in Doha.