‘I took him out of there as fast as I could’: Kelyn Cassidy in a rush to reach last 16 with first round stoppage

Irish light-heavy Kelyn Cassidy savours the moment after Friday's last 32 stoppage win. Picture courtesy of Tara Mari Robins
Irish light-heavy Kelyn Cassidy savours the moment after Friday's last 32 stoppage win. Picture courtesy of Tara Mari Robins

KELYN Cassidy could easily have been lost to boxing before a punch had even been thrown in anger – but instead he is bringing down the big guns in Italy after moving another step closer to securing a spot at this summer’s Olympic Games.

A lethal left hand floored Wyatt Tranquillo midway through the first round of Friday’s last 32 bout, Algerian referee Sid Mokretari immediately waving the contest off as Cassidy’s Guatemalan opponent struggled to his feet.

“It was good,” he smiled, “we got the game-plan right from the get-go.

“I just set it up and I took him out of there as fast as I could, so happy days.”

Having taken care of Michail Tsamilidis earlier in the week, the Waterford man goes on to face Armenian tough guy Rafayel Hovhannisyan – a European silver medallist - in the last 16 on Sunday, knowing just two more wins stand between him and a place in Paris.

Yet, had things worked out differently, Cassidy would not have been here at all. Despite first stepping foot through the door of the Saviours Crystal club at 10, it was Gaelic football and hurling that later held the key to his sporting ambition.

However, after returning to Saviours in a bid to improve his conditioning for GAA, boxing worked its way into his system.

“Like any other kid I ran about and played Gaelic football, played hurling, I tried everything, then when I was about 16 I went back to the boxing gym - the same gym I started in.

“As I got older I started to enjoy it more and made the most of it. Now I love it, and now I’m here.

“My coach, Paul Simpson, pushed me all the time, he saw something in me, and said hopefully one day you’ll go to an Olympic Games.

“I’m on the pathway here, but it’s one fight at a time.”

The Waterford banger came so close to sealing his Olympic spot at last year’s European qualifier, only to lose out against experienced Oleksandr Khyzhniak by the narrowest of margins.

Rather than dwell on what might have been, however, that near miss became fuel to his fire as Cassidy overcame good friend Gabriel Dossen in the Irish 80kg final to guarantee another crack.

“That’s in the past - I can’t be looking back at that,” he said of the Khyzhniak defeat.

“It’s kept me switched on, kept me sharp and I’m just going to keep pushing myself at this tournament and see can I get over the line.

“I came here to try and qualify for the Games but I’m just taking everything one step at a time and enjoying it. I’m enjoying the experience, enjoying the whole lot.”


World Olympic qualifier, Busto Arsizio


51kg round of 32: D Moorehouse v T Cedeno (Venezuela) – afternoon session

57kg round of 32: J Gallagher v H Mohammed (India) – evening session


92+kg round of 16: M McDonagh v D Latypov (Bahrain) – afternoon session

66kg round of 16: G Walsh v F Asiko (Kenya) – evening session


80kg round of 16: K Cassidy v R Hovhannisyan (Armenia) – afternoon session