By Jay Mwamba
James Moore won Ireland’s only medal — a bronze — after losing to American welterweight Anthony Thompson in the semifinals of the World Amateur Boxing Championships at Belfast’s Odyssey Arena last Friday.
The Arklow prospect was the only survivor from Ireland’s six quarterfinalists when he ran into the U.S. national champion from Philadelphia. After each scoring a knockdown in the grueling four-round contest, Moore was adjudged to have lost a 36-24 decision to his 20-year-old opponent.
"He was better on the day; I have no complaints," Moore, who captained the 12-man Irish squad in the 66-nation tournament, told the press later. "I was never going to give up. It is an honor for me to be on the team, never mind being captain."
Thompson, who went on to earn the silver medal after losing to Cuba’s Loren Armientieros Aragon in the final, said of Moore: "He’s full of heart."
Moore also received kudos from American team leader Johnny Woluewich,who said: "I boxed amateur and had 16 pro fights but in all that time I never saw a boxer to show such spirit in the ring."
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The semifinal bout was the 22-year-old Moore’s fifth fight in six days. He began his campaign on June 3 with a 17-9 points victory over Latvia’s Aleksandr Sotniks. He then beat Lithuanian representative Darius Jasevicius 14-11, and Lenord Bundu of Italy (19-16) to set up a quarterfinal match with Turkish champ Firat Karagollo that he won 110-82 on a countback, to assure himself of the bronze.
Light flyweight John Paul Kinsella, bantamweight Damien McKenna, light welterweight Michael Kelly, light heavyweight Alan Reynolds and middleweight Kenneth Egan were the other Irish quarterfinalists in the championships that featured some 400 of the world’s best amateurs.
Kinsella, of Bray, lost a close 22-20 decision in his quarterfinal bout with Romania’s European bronze medal winner Velicu Marian. Drogheda native McKenna was stopped in the third round by eventual silver medallist, and three-time European bantamweight titlist, Agasi Agaguloglu of Turkey.
Dubliner Egan was outclassed 28-8 by Cuban Yordanis Destaigne, who went on to win a bronze medal.
Kelly went down fighting, 19-13 to flashy French southpaw and ultimate bronze medalist Willy Blain, while Sligo’s Reynolds lasted only two rounds against another Frenchman, John Dovi, who went home with the light heavyweight bronze.