Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Boxing: Sutherland Nails a Third Bronze

With Darren Sutherland's clever demolition of Alfonso Blanco Parra of Venezuela , the Irish Olympic boxing dream continues in spectacular fashion.
Last year, Sutherland was taken apart 20-13 by Blanco on his way to a silver medal at the World Championships in Chicago.
It proved turning point for the Dubliner, who decided to "go back to the drawing board" and start fighting his own way again. This time, he encouraged Blanco to come at him, absorbing the blows and tiring him out. By the end of the second round, when he was trailing 6-1, it was clear that the Venezuelan had no idea how to get through the Sutherland defence.
Weirdly, he was dropping his own defence and dancing around like Muhammed Ali in his prime - a very dangerous thing to do against a fighter like Sutherland. In the end, our boy won 11-1, his left hook proving particularly lethal.
"I didn't want to be left behind. I won a medal too" he said to his corner through his green mouthguard after the fans had counted down the final five seconds.
He will now fight his old rival James DeGale of England in Friday's semi-final (8am our time). There is no love lost between the pair - Sutherland has won four of their five matches, but that single loss came last December in the Olympic qualifier. Amazingly, Egan is also down to fight an Englishman. What ever happened to all those hard men from Russia, Kazakhstan, Korea and, above all, Cuba? Changing times indeed.
Quote of the day(from the inimitable Jimmy Magee): "Blanco's brain has gone blanco...!"

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