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so close Kelyn Cassidy misses out on World Championship medal after defeat in Belgrade


Kelyn Cassidy of Ireland

Kelyn Cassidy of Ireland

Kelyn Cassidy of Ireland

THERE was no fairytale finale to Kelyn Cassidy’s World Championship boxing journey in Belgrade.

The 24-year-old Waterford southpaw was beaten by Belarus’ Aliak Alfiarau on a unanimous 5-0 decision with all five judges scoring the fight 30-27.

Even though he is three years younger than Cassidy, Alfiarau is a more experienced fighter. He has medalled at a number of continental underage championships whereas Cassidy was featuring in his first international abroad.

Having observed how Cassidy’s won his two fights in Belgrade Alfiarau – who normally also boxes off the back foot – decided he needed to be more aggressive from the bell in order to get ahead.

Even though his face bore the scars of his fight 24 hours earlier, he started on the front foot and caught Cassidy with a solid right cross to the head in the opening 30 seconds. This punch set the pattern for most of the first round with Alfiarau landing the majority of the scoring shots.

Cassidy’s cause wasn’t helped when the referee had to stop the contest in order for the doctor to examine his nose which was almost certainly broken.

He was 5-0 down after round one and faced an uphill battle as the Belarus fighter could now adopt his normal southpaw stance and keep his distance knowing that Cassidy had to chase him.

Ultimately this is how the contest panned out and Cassidy – who had to have further treatment on his damaged nose in the second round – could never land the telling shots he had in earlier bouts. Essentially, in the battle between two southpaws he met a better version of himself.

Though he missed out on the $25,000 on offer for bronze medallists, the championship could be a life-changing one for his career.

He is in full-time employment in his native city as a qualified tool maker. But as a result of reaching the last eight in Belgrade he is now entitled to €20,000 funding from Sports Ireland. He will have to decide whether he wants to train full-time in Abbotstown alongside the rest of the High-Performance boxers.

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