Aidan Walsh is guaranteed at least bronze at the Tokyo Olympics.
The Belfast welterweight beat Mervin Clair of Mauritius on a 4-1 split decision this morning to book his ticket into the semi-finals.
A close and intense bout saw Walsh land the majority of scoring shots to take the first round on all cards, with Clair barely getting a punch in.
The second round was a lot closer with southpaw Clair landing with two left hooks but Walsh replying with backhands. Three of the judges went with Walsh in the second round leaving Clair needing a 10-8 round in the third to turn it around.
But with Walsh boxing so intelligently and keeping the round tight that was never going to happen with Walsh landing most of the scoring punches in the last round.
Speaking to RTE after the bout, 24-year-old Walsh, who will face Britain’s Pat McCormack next, said he was delighted with the win and feels that he’s improving all the time.
“It’s incredible,” he said.
“I watched those guys in the gyms all the time. Paddy Barnes, Mick Conlan… Seeing them coming back to Belfast on the big buses.
“The amount of training I’ve put in and the amount of sacrifices… my coaches, my club coaches, my family and girlfriend, everybody has given me so much support and I’m just so grateful.
“I just do what the coaches tell me. They come up with a game plan and you just do it, just listen. Boxers say it’s like a computer game, they’re playing a computer game, I’m just the operator in it and doing my best to do what they’re telling me to do.
“I’m happy with my performance but I want to progress on. You want to be the best and I feel like I’m improving all the time.”
When told he would face McCormack next, Walsh responded: “He faces Ireland’s Aidan Walsh, that’s the way I’m looking at it.
“It’s just going in there with the belief that you can beat anybody, with the right tactics and coaches. I’m getting better and better every fight.”
57kg Kurt Walker (Ireland) beat Jose Quiles (Spain) 5-0
81kg Emmet Brennan (Ireland) lost to Dilshod Ruzmetov (Uzbekistan) 0-5
52kg Brendan Irvine (Ireland) lost to Carlo Paalam (Philippines) 1-4
57kg Michaela Walsh (Ireland) lost to Irma Testa (Italy) 0-5
69kg Aidan Walsh (Ireland) beat Albert Menque (Cameroon) 5-0
75kg Aoife O’Rourke (Ireland) lost to Qian Li (China) 0-5
57kg Kurt Walker (Ireland) beat Mirazizbek Mitzakhalilov (Uzbekistan) 4-1
60hk Kellie Harrington (Ireland) beat Rebecca Nicoli (Italy) 5-0
69kg Aidan Walsh (Ireland) beat Mervin Clair (Mauritius) 4-1
57kg Kurt Walker (Ireland) v Duke Ragan (USA)
69kg Aidan Walsh (Ireland) v Pat McCormack (Great Britain)
60kg Kellie Harrington (Ireland) v Imane Khelif (Algeria)