The other Irish competitor Colin Griffin was disqualified early in the race.
15:00 (8am Irish time)
Darren Sutherland lost to James Degale (GB) by 10-3
Middleweight Darren Sutherland was the first of the Irish boxers into the ring. He had beaten Britain’s James Degale in four of their five previous meetings but not today.
Afterwards Sutherland, who will now turn professional, wasn’t too despondent.
“I’m absolutely happy, and I’m delighted. At the end of the day a medal was beyond my wildest dreams. I came here to perform and stay true to my values. I like to get stuck in and fight, and that’s what I was trying to do. Unfortunately he didn’t want to get involved and he wanted to use the tactics that he did to get the decisions. You might say a win is a win, but on the stage everyone knows who they’re going to pay to watch, and that’s me,” he said.
“I’m happy to top off my amateur career with an Olympic medal. How many people can say they went to the Olympics, never mind get a medal.”
19:00 (noon Irish time)
Paddy Barnes lost to Shiming Zou (China) by 15 -0
21:00 (2pm Irish time)
Ken Egan beat Tony Jeffries (GB) by 10-3 and progresses to the Olympic Final
Irish boxing team captain Kenny Egan led from the front last night as he reached Sunday’s Olympic light-heavyweight final, comfortably beating Britain’s Tony Jeffries 10-3 to guarantee himself at least a silver medal.
He’ll take on China’s Zhang Xiaoping at the Workers Stadium in Beijing, the decider scheduled for 8.50am Irish time.
Egan was the last of the three Irish boxers in quarter-final action after defeats for Paddy Barnes and Darren Sutherland earlier in the day.
After those losses, Egan was determined to make sure at least one Irishman was going to have a medal better than bronze.
“I heard about Darren getting beaten, and then I was watching Paddy in the apartment. He was gutted but at the end of the day it’s an individual sport. The two boys are out. My heart does go out to them, but its back down to the last man again. The captain with all the pressure on the shoulders, I’m first in last out, first onto the field last man off it.”
The Dublin Southpaw took over the contest against Jeffries in the second round after the first finished tied at 1-1. He used devastating combinations that his opponent was unable to defend and by the halfway mark of the contest Egan was 4-1 ahead.
By this stage the English fighter looked like he had no more to offer and Egan moved up through the gears in the third and fourth rounds to win convincingly.
“I’m happy enough with the performance. I knew to keep it tight in the first round; I tried to hurt him with the body shots. I scored some good clean shots, I didn’t waste much, I had enough of a lead at the start, just building on that,” he said afterwards.
Jeffries did well to land three points because Egan had only been scored upon four times in three previous contests.
“My defence is working perfectly. I’m not getting caught by silly shots. I’m not hanging around long enough. I’m on my feet all the time moving and my range is perfect, my distance. I’m scoring and avoiding the shots at the same time; it’s a simple thing but it’s working for me.”
Egan becomes the first Irish boxer to reach an Olympic final in sixteen years since both Michael Carruth and Wayne McCullough did it Barcelona in 1992. Carruth went on to win gold and his uncle actually trained Egan.
In the decider for gold he’ll not only be taking on Zhang but the whole of China as well.
“We’ve never fought him, but we know him. It’ll be hard to beat him. But Kenny has all the artillery to beat him. It’s a fifty-fifty game; it’s all on the day. We’re in with a chance,” said coach Billy Walsh.
“He always seems to be the last man standing everywhere we go, he’s always delivered for us, and no-one deserves it better. He’s been the top man for the last five years,” he added.
So it will be an early Sunday morning start for Irish boxing fans, “I’m sure the whole country is behind me at this stage,” said Egan. “I’d say Ireland is going to come to a standstill. If I go out at the finals and perform 100% and get beaten I’ll shake the man’s hand, but I’m not going to leaving anything in that ring. I’ll have to be dragged out by the hair.”