Steven Donnelly advances to last 16 in Olympic Games
ALL Saints welterweight Steven Donnelly got Ireland's boxers off to a winning start at the Olympic Games in Brazil yesterday.
The 27-year old Ballymena box/fighter defeated Algerian southpaw Zohir Kedache at the 9,000 capacity Riocentro Pavilion in the suburb of Barra.
Switching styles from southpaw to orthodox throughout the bout Donnelly took the first two rounds on all the judges scorecards and secured the win with a measured last round as an attacking Kedache tried in vain to pull it back.
Donnelly now faces Tuvshinbat Byamba of Mongolia in Thursday's last 16. He outpointed Argentine's Alberto Ignacio Palmetta this afternoon.
The win will help lift the gloom surrounding the Irish camp since the revelation last Thursday that Ireland middleweight Michael O'Reilly (Portlaoise) had failed a doping test.
Factfile by Neil Loughran
Steven Gerard Donnelly
Club: All Saints, Ballymena
Weight class: Welterweight (69kg)
Danger in the draw: Mohammed Rabii (Morocco). Beat bookies’ favourite Daniyar Yeleussinov in the World Championship final, the 23-year-old was voted Boxer of the Season in WSB last year and can do a bit of everything. The man to beat in a tough-looking division
ON his day, Ballymena banger Donnelly is capable of beating anybody at 69kg.
He proved that during the WSB last year when he travelled the world beating everybody put in front of him before his challenge faded towards the end of a physically draining campaign.
After seemingly being overlooked for the welterweight spot, Donnelly had given up all hope of a career in boxing until an unlikely sequence of events left him glued to the Russian National Championships to find out whether he would qualify for the Olympics.
On November 29 it was confirmed – the dream was alive.
Having left his wild child days well and truly behind him, Donnelly has given it everything in preparation for Rio, and his performance in defeating Canada’s highly-rated Custio Clayton at the Commonwealth Games two years ago shows what he is capable of on the big stage.