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Kenny Egan previews Ireland’s boxing semi-finalists

by Rob Dore | August 10, 2012

Ireland’s John Joe Nevin is one fight away from a shot at gold (pic: Inpho)

With Katie Taylor securing gold on Thursday, Kenny Egan looks at Ireland’s three remaining male fighters as they all look to book their final places today. Will they be able to upgrade their bronze medals to at least a silver and maybe more? Beijing silver-medallist Kenny Egan gave us his views on all three fights.

Paddy Barnes v Shiming Zhou

It was a perfectly executed plan by Paddy in his quarter-final. He went in with a tight guard, he started off fast and got the lead in the first round. Then he had that brilliant second round. He didn’t have to do much in the third because he didn’t have to kill himself.

The Indian fighter got a little messy in the second round and he even through the head at Paddy

Although he’s a strong favorite and he did beat Paddy 15-0 at this stage in Beijing, Shiming Zhou is getting old, he’s 31 now. I watched his quarter-final fight against Birzhan Zhakypov and he didn’t look too good.

Paddy needs to stay in this guy’s face for the full three rounds, non-stop pressure all the time and this guy will get tired.

Paddy’s an all-round better fighter than he was four years ago. He’s thinking and awful lot more, he’s a better mover. His whole selection of punches is much better. This is going to be an awful lot closer than people think.

Paddy will push this guy for the entire fight and I expect it to be a close affair.

Paddy Barnes – 11/4
Shiming Zhou – 2/9

John Joe Nevin v Lazaro Alvarez Estrada

Estrada is definitely the man to beat in this division and there’s no denying he’s very, very good. However he only beat the British fight Campbell by one point at the World Championships last year. John Joe Nevin only lost to Campbell by one point so there’s not much in it.

Styles make fights and these two are counter-punchers so theres not going to be much happening in this fight for the first round or two. It is going to be a very low score and may come down to whoever makes a mistake first.

His plan against Valdez in the lst round was perfection. He fought exactly the way he wanted to. He boxed very well and is a great mover. His footwork is fabulous and he’s always on the move so he’s very hard to hit.

This fight is a different level though. Estrada is top class.

John Joe needs to start of by holding the centre of the ring. He needs to try and get a lead in the first round. Get the lead and move, drawing the Cuban out. When he attacks he’s going to be counter-punched every-time so he needs to establish a lead.

This will be another close one on the cards.

John Joe Nevin – 9/5
Lazara Alvarez Estrada – 2/5

Michael Conlon v Robeisy Ramirez

After his last fight Conlon talked about still having more in the tank but it was a tough fight against against the Frenchman Oubaali. He dug deep in the last round but that just shows you he has the fire in his belly. He wants to win.

This is going to be an exciting match-up because Conlon likes to fight. He can mix it up between orthodox and south-paw but what pleased me most against is that he stayed in the stance he’s not used to. He stuck with south-paw even though he was level going in to the last round and that shows character. He’s a really confident boxer but at this level every fight is going to be close. It’s going to be a war for the full three rounds with this Ramirez kid.

Although Ramirez is the favourite I think the two lads can do a double on these Cubans.

Michael Conlon – 3/1
Robeisy Ramirez – 2/9

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