Aidan Walsh advances to set up World Championship showdown with England's Pat McCormack
AIDAN Walsh got Ireland back to winning ways at the World Elite Championships in Russia yesterday – setting up a mouth-watering showdown with England's Pat McCormack in the process.
The Monkstown welter scored a split decision victory over tough Israeli Miroslav Kapuler to advance into the last 32, with the experienced McCormack up next on Monday.
McCormack is the number two seed at 69kg, and for good reason. He is the reigning European Games champion, having claimed gold in Minsk back in June, as well as topping the podium at the European Union Championships last November.
The pair have must just once before, with the 24-year-old a convincing winner in their Commonwealth Games final on the Gold Coast last year.
However, considering that was his first major international tournament as a senior boxer, Walsh will fancy his chances of pushing the Sunderland powerhouse all the way this time.
The 22-year-old impressed on his Worlds bow yesterday, boxing beautifully on the back foot in the first and third rounds, although Kapuler did catch the north Belfast counter-puncher with a couple of big shots in the second.
Michael Nevin, meanwhile, bids for a place in the last 16 when he takes on Lithuanian Vytautas Balsys today.
The Portlaoise middleweight already has a win under his belt after scoring a unanimous decision victory over Moldova's Andrei Vreme on Monday.
Should he progress, Nevin will face a considerable test in his quest for a quarter-final spot, with the winner of today's clash between Azerbaijani Amin Kushkhov from Azerbaijan and Russian number eight seed Gleb Bakshi up next on Monday.
After receiving a bye in the last 64, European Games gold medallist Kurt Wallker enters the fray tomorrow when he takes on Columbia's David Avila.
Walker fell at the first hurdle during his previous attempt at the World Championships, and will be keen to get off the mark with a win.
Waiting in the next round on Tuesday will be the winner of tomorrow's clash between Canadian Eric Basran – who Walker defeated at the last Commonwealth Games – and Nicaragua's Nilo Antonio Guerrero Cuadra.
Dublin heavyweight Kiril Afanasev will also be in action tomorrow when he takes on Bulgaria's Radoslav Panaleev. Lithuania's Tadas Tamasauskas or Moroccan number eight seed Youness Baalla will be up next for the winner on Tuesday.