Kieran Molloy and Michael Nevin showed their class to guarantee Ireland at least two bronze medals at the Pavlyukov Youth Memorial in Anapa, Russia today.
Both young men dominated en route to unanimous decisions over Russian opponents in the quarter-finals of the tournament.
But Aaron McKenna and Paddy Donovan were adjudged to have lost on two controversial split decisions to Russia’s Denis Darilov and Artem Butaev.
In both contests, the two home judges scored it 29-28, 29-28 to the home boxers, but the third judge in both bouts, a non home judge, scored all three rounds 30-27 to McKenna and Donovan.
Irish team manager Gerry O’Mahony and Irish coaches Billy McClean and Fergal McKenna articulated their opinions on the verdicts to the officials in charge in no uncertain terms.
McClean described both decisions as shocking and dreadful, adding that McKenna and Donovan were clear winners.
Kevin Kehoe bowed out this morning after a performance full of heart and courage against talented Cuban Lenar Perez-Fransua in the middleweight class.
James McGivern and Brian Kennedy also left everything in the ring against Kazakhstan and Russia. Kennedy was edged on a split by Russian light-heavy Sergey Murashey.
Molloy and Nevin will be back between the ropes tomorrow boxing for places in the light-welter and welter finals.
Pavlyukov Youth Memorial Anapa, Russia March 11/16
Preliminaries (last 16)
52kg Shane Flavin (Ireland) lost to Ruslan Sinicyn (Russia) 1-2
64kg Kieran Molloy (Ireland) beat Tyler Jolly (Scotland) 2-1
56kg Aaron McKenna (Ireland) beat William Stuart (Scotland) 2-1
56kg James McGivern (Ireland) beat Mamapali Nursuit (Kyrgyzstan) 3-0
60kg Paddy Donovan (Ireland) beat Hamraous Loures (France) 3-0
69kg Michael Nevin (Ireland) beat Aybek Akylkbekuulu (Kyrgyzstan) 3-0
75kg Kevin Kehoe (Ireland) beat Jack Gipp (Australia) 3-0
56kg Aaron McKenna (Ireland) lost to Denis Darilov (Russia) 1-2
56kg James McGivern (Ireland) lost to Sanatali Taltaev (Kazakhstan) 0-3
60kg Paddy Donovan (Ireland) lost to Artem Butaev (Russia) 1-2
64kg Kieran Molloy (Ireland) beat Dmitry Zubko (Russia) 3-0
69kg Michael Nevin (Ireland) beat Vladimir Tolozyam (Russia) 3-0
75kg Kevin Kehoe (Ireland) lost to Lenar Perez-Fransua (Cuba) 0-3
81kg Brian Kennedy (Ireland) lost to Sergey Murashey (Russia) 1-2
64kg Kieran Molloy (Ireland) v Danis Gabdrafikov (Russia)
69kg Michael Nevin (Ireland) v Oleg Matveychuk (Kazakhstan)
52kg Shane Flavin (Paulstown)
56kg Aaron McKenna (Old School)
56kg James McGivern (St Georges)
60kg Paddy Donovan (OLOL)
64kg Kieran Molloy (Oughterard) (Bronze, at least)
69kg Michael Nevin (Portlaoise) (Bronze, at least)
75kg Kevin Keogh (Marble City)
81kg Brian Kennedy (St Marys D)
Team manager: Gerry O’Mahony
Coaches: Billy McClean & Fergal McKenna
Physio Orla O’Rourke
R&J: Larry Durand