Ireland didn’t have to “Waite” long for at least a third silver medal at the Gee Bee Multi-Nations in Helsinki, Finland today.
TJ Waite guaranteed the Irish squad a third silver after recording a split decision over Belgium’s Dodji Ayigah this afternoon.
Waite joins Michael O’Reilly in Sunday’s finals. Darren O’Neill also won his semi-final bout today, the Kilkenny southpaw beating Italy’s Tommaso Rossano.
However, O’Neill picked up a cut in the clash and has withdrawn from the heavyweight decider with Kazakhstan’s Vasilly Levitt tomorrow.
Earlier today, O’Reilly beat England’s Troy Williamson to move to within one win of gold at the 35th edition of the tournament.
But Stephen McKenna had to settle for a semi-final finish this morning.
O’Reilly, ranked No. 2 in the World, recorded a unanimous verdict (30-27 across the board) over the Darlington ABC middleweight to set up Sunday’s 75kg final with France’s Christian M’Billi Assomo,who claimed Gee Bee gold in 2014.
McKenna, in his first appearance at this level, was beaten on a unanimous by Russian light-fly Bator Sagalajev, who edged Ireland’s Brendan Irvine on a split decision in last year’s European Games final.
Irish interim head coach Zaur Antia hailed the performances of O’Reilly, O’Neill and Waite and described McKenna’s gutsy and skilful display against the World No.17 as outstanding.
Gee Bee Multi-Nations Helsinki, Finland March 11/14
75kg Michael O’Reilly (Ireland) beat Giovanni Sarachiato (Italy) 3-0
64kg Dean Walsh (Ireland) lost to Aleksai Mazur (Russia) 1-2
91kg Darren O’Neill (Ireland) beat Tadas Tamasauskas (Lithuania) 3-0
49kg Stephen McKenna (Ireland) lost to Bator Sagalajev (Russia) 0-3
52kg TJ Waite (Ireland) beat Dodji Ayigah (Belgium) 2-1
75kg Michael O’Reilly (Ireland) beat Troy Williamson (England) 3-0
91kg Darren O’Neill (Ireland) beat Tommaso Rossano (Italy) 3-0
52kg TJ Waite (Ireland) v Ovik Ogannisian (Russia)
75kg Michael O’Reilly (Ireland) v Christian M’Billi Assomo (France)
91kg Darren O’Neill (Ireland) lost to Vasilly Levitt (Kazakhstan) W/O (O’Neill injured in s/finals)
49kg Stephen McKenna (Old School) (Bronze)
52kg TJ Waite (Ormeau Road) (Silver, at least)
64kg Dean Walsh (St Josephs/St Ibars)
75kg Michael O’Reilly (Portlaoise) (Silver, at least)
91kg Darren O’Neill (Paulstown) (Silver)
Coaches: Zaur Antia, Noel Burke
Physio: Ursla Brooks