John Joe Nevin has won Ireland’s first medal at the London Olympics – a bronze – after his victory over Oscar Valdez Fierro in the bantamweight division quarter-final.
Nevin won on a 19-13 scoreline and it sets up a semi-final bout against a the Cuban Lazaro Alvarez Estrada on Friday .
Nevin found his range early in the first, and while Valdez-Fierro was doing some good work on the inside, it appeared to be Nevin’s round, but, surprisingly, it was scored 5-5 at the bell.
However, Nevin used his superior technique to open up a three point advantage by the end of the second, one left straight down the middle being the pick of the punches from the Irishman.
It all came down to the third round. Fierro-Valdez came out of his corner with all guns blazing.
Nevin weathered the early storm and appeared to be coasting to victory, but he then took a count after a big left to the body on the ropes.
That was all the encouragement that the Mexican needed and he began chasing Nevin down inside the final minute
However, the Irish Elite champion, who is coached by Brian McKeown at the Cavan BC, recovered sufficiently from the mandatory count and showed his class and heart to seal a wonderful victory going down the final stretch.