Paddy Barnes wrote himself into
the history books with arguably his best ever performance at the
ExCel in London last night.
The Belfast light-flyweight, a
bronze medal winner at the 2008 Olympics, became the first boxer in
the 101-year history of the Irish Amateur Boxing Association to
claim two Olympic medals with a 23-18 quarter-final win over
India's Devendro Singh Laishram.
Barnes now joins Dr Pat
O'Callaghan as the only Irish athlete to win two Olympic medals
since Ireland entered the Olympic Games independently in 1924.
O'Callaghan won double gold in the hammer throw in 1928 and
Tonight's victory, which assures
Barnes of at least another bronze, also guarantees Irish boxing a
fourth medal from London 2012, a collection that matches the record
medal haul of the Irish 1956 boxing squad in Melbourne.
Barnes and Lasihram sparred at
the National Stadium in Dublin when the IABA hosted India in the
lead up to these Games.
The word back from those spars
was that Laishram was quite a handful, but Barnes, always a man for
the big occasion, and boxing with precision behind an excellent
defence, took the first round of tonight's duel 7-5.
The 2010 European and
Commonwealth champion upped the pace in the second. Lefts to the
body and right hooks were the order of the day in a frame in which
Lasihram ceded two points after receiving a public warning for
dangerous use of his head. Barnes was now 17-10 up.
The Indian threw caution to the
wind in the third and there were concerns when Barnes got a public
warning for holding. Laishran piled on the pressure.
But the Holy Family BC star stood
up to the barrage, and weathering the storm finished the round with
a flourish, lashing home two precision rights from behind his high
guard to record a deserved win and write himself into the history
He'll now meet China's Zou
Shiming in Friday's semi-final in a rematch of the 2008 Olympic
semi-finals which Shiming won en route to gold in Beijing.
"I'm over the moon, Words cannot
describe how I'm feeling. I knew he'd come forward with all guns
blazing, but I felt stronger than him," said the two-time Olympic
medalist after his win.
"I trained hard and I know how
good I am. I'm confident in myself. I'm going for the gold."