Wayne Kelly got Ireland off to a winning start at the Trestin Memorial in Odessa, Ukraine this afternoon.
The Westmeath light-welter beat Vaghinak Bazeyan on points to advance to the last 16 where he’ll meet Ukraine.
Bazeyan was durable and dangerous throughout today’s encounter but Kelly found the target with more than enough clean combinations and body shots to progress.
“Good to get the first one away to shake off the rust, I had no sparring leading up to this as I picked up a cut on my cheekbone in my previous international against the Netherlands. Back again tomorrow,” said Kelly after his win.
Meantime, Tibenius Barbuso was aggressive throughout versus Ireland’s Aidan Walsh in the welter class.
It appeared that Walsh’s cleaner shots, particularly in the final round, might edge a tight contest, but the Hungarian fighter got the nod to advance to the last 16.
Later this evening, Emmet Brennan came through an uncompromising three-rounder with Ukranian middle Igor Harchenko with flying colours. Neither man had to go looking for each other in a hard-punching 75kg decider.
But the quality of Brennan’s hooks off both hand hooks – he landed a neat right inside the final 10 seconds – and body shots sealed a thoroughly deserved victory on all five cards for the Dubliner.
Cork light-heavy Tommy Hyde eased to within striking distance of at least bronze after outfoxing – and outboxing – Asian Games silver medallist Hindawl Al Oada
The Jordanian’s sweeping left hooks, if they had landed, would have caused damage, but the Mayfield man has enough experience not to be hanging around waiting for one of them to land.
Hyde’s best work was when he got his combinations going down straight down the middle. He impressed in rounds one and two with those shots while the third round, with both men going for broke, as mostly evenly shared, although Hyde slipped home another solid hook going don the final stretch.
Hyde will be back in action with at least bronze up for grabs on Wednesday versus Ukraine.
Ken Okungbowa received a bye into the last 16 and fights tomorrow. along with Kelly and Brennan.
23rd Semen Trestin Memorial Odessa, Ukraine
63kg Wayne Kelly (Ireland) beat Vaghinak Bazeyan (Armenia) Pts
69kg Aiden Walsh (Ireland) lost to Tibenius Barbuso (Hungary) Pts
75kg Emmet Brennan (Ireland) beat Igor Harchenko (Ukraine) 5-0
81kg Tommy Hyde (Ireland) beat Hindawl Al Oada (Jordan) Pts
(Exact scores to be confirmed)
63kg Wayne Kelly (Ireland) v Zoravov Petrosayan (Ukraine)
75kg Emmet Brennan (Ireland) v TBA
91kg Ken Okungbowa (Ireland) v Dmytyi Galagan (Ukraine) or Shangarbek Batynula (Kazakhstan)
81kg Tommy Hyde (Ireland) v Dannylo Zhasan (Ukraine)
63kg Wayne Kelly (Portlaoise)
69kg Aidan Walsh (Monkstown)
75kg Emmet Brennan (Glasnevin)
81kg Tommy Hyde (Mayfield)
91kg Ken Okungbowa (Athlone)
Coaches: Eoin Pluck and Jimmy Halpin