Sunderland welterweight Josh Kelly ensured Great Britain will take five boxing medals away from the European Games in Baku as he repelled experienced Irishman Adam Nolan to move into the semi-finals via a split decision.
Kelly’s flashier front-footed work caught the eye of the judges but success came at a price as the 21-year-old needed extensive treatment to his left eye which it is hoped will not affect his last-four bout against Azerbaijan’s Parviz Baghirov.
Kelly said he would intimidated taking on a home fighter.
“I love boxing in front of a home crowd – there is nothing better than to upset them and smile at all the lads who don’t like you.”
Sandy Ryan did just that – silencing a partisan home crowd to guarantee a medal with a split decision victory over Azerbaijan’s two-time world medallist Elena Vystropova.
The Derby 21-year-old’s career has assumed a remarkable trajectory since she burst onto the scene by taking silver at last year’s World Championships, but this was by far her best win yet.
Undaunted by a series of controversial decisions in the home nation’s favour this week, Ryan set the pace from the start, narrowly dropping the opening round before growing steadily stronger as the bout progressed and sealing the victory.