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Azerbaijan and Ireland revel in the ring

Boxing
Michael O'Reilly of Ireland celebrates victory over Xaybula Musalov of Azerbaijan. Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Hosts claim three golds on final day of European Games Boxing

The Baku 2015 European Games Boxing tournament ended in Crystal Hall on Saturday with a night of glory for Azerbaijan.

The hosts had four boxers in the finals – and walked away with three gold medals thanks to Albert Selimov in the men's lightweight (60kg), Parviz Baghirov in the welterweight (69kg) and Abdulkadir Abdullayev in the heavyweight (91kg).

The Azerbaijani team know that their success story owes much to the efforts of their Cuban coach Pedro Roque.

"He is an excellent coach," said Selimov. "There are good coaches in Russia, too, but this coach is very compatible with me from a technical point of view. He is also a very good psychologist. Maybe that's the reason behind the success." 

 

But it was a winning night too for Ireland, who produced two winners.

Katie Taylor dominated the fight against Estelle Mossely of France in the lightweight (57-60kg) to make it 18 gold medals from all championships.

Taylor admitted she was below her best even through she earned a unanimous points verdict.

"I felt a little differently to be honest. I thought she was causing me a little bit of trouble. I just felt a little bit tired, my feinting wasn't there. I should have been feinting a little bit more," reflected Taylor, who hasn't lost in the ring since 2011.

"It was just one of those things. Sometimes you go into the ring feeling a little bit tired. You still have to dig deep and pull through and that's the sign of a great champion."

Later in the day, her compatriot Michael O'Reilly halted the Azerbaijani bandwagon by beating Xaybula Musalov in the middleweight (75kg) final.

The Irish boxer summed up his, and Ireland's successful night by declaring: "I suppose we just have good boxers. They don't call us the fighting Irish for nothing."

Azerbaijani lightweight Selimov narrowly outpointed Sofiane Oumha of France and Baghirov followed up in the welterweight by winning on points against Russian favourite and no.1 seed Alexander Besputin.

Finally, Abdullayev did not even have to climb into the ring to get his heavyweight gold medal. Gevorg Manukian of Ukraine didn't pass the pre-bout medical examination and had to withdraw from the final.


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    Azerbaijan and Ireland revel in the ring

    Hosts claim three golds on final day of European Games Boxing
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