It was a red-letter afternoon for two Connacht boxers at the European U-22 championships in Italy as they secured bronze medals.
ligo native Dean Clancy who boxes out of Sean McDermott BC based in Manorhamilton, County Leitrim qualified for the semi-final of the light welterweight division.
Half an hour later it was the turn of Movivea’s Adam Hession to grab spotlight in the bantamweight division with a classy performance in the quarter-final.
The two fighters are also in line to collect at least $2,000 each in prize money following the controversial decision of the AIBA award to offer monetary prizes at an amateur championship.
They both have to chance to upgrade to at least silver medals as well as earn more prize money in the semi-finals.
Oughterard’s Kieran Molloy was unable to make it a hat-trick of wins for Connacht fighters as he went down on a unanimous points decision to the number one welterweight seed from the UK Muhammed Harris Akbar.
Clancy, who competed at the Youth Oylmpics in Buenos Aires in 2018 in 2018 as a flyweight, has since moved up the weights and now boxes in the 63kg class. He needed all his resolve to overcome the challenge of France’s Lounes Hanraoui in a tactical and tight contest.
The Irish fighter lost the first round 4-1 but crucially won the second on three of the judges’ card to put him back in contention. And he did enough in the final three minutes to secure a split 3-2 win.
It was altogether more straight forward for Hession who underlined his potential with a shut-out win over German bantamweight Bashir Bajwa. Two of the judges gave the Galway fighter the first round on 10-8 scorecard and he was on his way to the semi-final after round 2.
But he showcased his talent in the final round forcing the referee to give the German a standing account and final scorecards of (30-25, 30-25, 30-26, 3-26, 30-27) underlined how dominant Hession was.
Molloy literally drew the short straw as he found himself trading punches with the highly-rated British welterweight Akbar.
The favourite took the first round and it all went wrong for Molloy in the second as he was harshly deducted a point by the referee for dropping his head and he also suffered a cut near his left eye.
He battled through to the end but there was no doubting Akbar’s superiority.
Heavyweight Jack Marley will be fighting for a bronze medal against Andrei Zapllitnii (Moldova) in the evening session in Italy (6pm).