Irish boxer David Oliver Joyce was unable to match the illusive Azeri fighter Albert Selimov in Rio tonight as the world number two triumphed via a unanimous decision.
Joyce accounted for Andrique Allisop of the Seychelles in his opening bout, but this represented a major step up in class for the Mullingar pugilist. Joyce made a tentative start as Selimov used his superior reach to land a number of telling blows, one of which opened the right eye of the Athy clubman.
The Azerbaijani southpaw proved difficult to hit for Joyce as Selimov breached his opponent’s high guard with his laser-like uppercut. The three judges, who hailed from Brazil, Mongolia and Canada, each awarded the first round to the hot favourite on a 10-9 scoreline.
Those long arms continue to find their range in the second round. Joyce ratcheted up the tempo and boasted the superior work rate but Selimov ducked and weaved and continued to prove elusive, although one judge did award the round to Joyce.
The languid Selimov targeted Joyce’s bloody eye in the final round with his long jabs and the Irishman received medical attention as the bout was temporarily stopped with 25 seconds remaining. When the end did come, the unanimous decision in favour of Selimov was never in doubt, with the 30-year-old winning the bout 29-28 on all three scorecards.
“Tough fight, what can I say, he’s a really true champion, a really good guy,” said Joyce afterwards. “He’s a world silver medalist and second best in the world at the minute, at the end of the day it was going to be an uphill battle with him.”
“But I wouldn’t take anything away from myself, I’m up there with him. We thought we could have come out the right side of the decision, I gave it everything I could in there and at least I got out of the ring knowing I tried everything I could and the better man came through on the day”added Joyce.