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box clever Aidan Walsh guaranteed Olympic medal as Irish fighter advances to semi-final of Tokyo Games

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Aidan Walsh of Ireland celebrates after defeating Merven Clair of Mauritius

Aidan Walsh of Ireland celebrates after defeating Merven Clair of Mauritius

Aidan Walsh of Ireland, left, and Merven Clair of Mauritius

Aidan Walsh of Ireland, left, and Merven Clair of Mauritius

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Aidan Walsh of Ireland celebrates after defeating Merven Clair of Mauritius

Aidan Walsh has secured Ireland’s first Olympic medal in boxing since the London Olympics in 2012.

The Belfast welterweight comfortably outpointed Merven Clair from Mauritius in their quarter-final bout at the Kokugikan Areana in Tokyo.

He now meets the number one seed Pat McCormack from Britain in the semi-final on Sunday where he will have a chance to upgrade to silver.

As he did in his last 16 contest, Walsh stood off his opponent and caught him on the counter punch when he ventured forward. It was a tactical battle in the opening two rounds but Walsh’s accurate jab was finding the target whereas Clair cut a frustrated figure.

Walsh won the first round on all five judges' cards which was crucial to his game plan as it forced his opponent to come forward more frequently. Clair did have some success in round two and two of the judges give him the stanza.

But as long as he stayed upright Walsh was heading to the podium, though there was a moment of concern early in the third round when the referee warned Walsh to stand and fight. But the Belfast fighter comfortably saw out the bout to go through to the semi-final on a 4-1 majority decision - 30-27, 30-27, 30-27, 29-28, 28-29.

He is the ninth fighter from Belfast to medal in the Olympics following in the footsteps of John McNally (1952), Freddie Gilroy and John Caldwell (1956), Jim McCourt (1964), Hugh Russell (1980), Wayne McCullagh (1992), Paddy Barnes (2008 and 2012) and Michael Conlan (2012).

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