John Joyce and James Cleary got Ireland off to an impressive start at the 2012 European Junior Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria today.
Joyce, the current European schoolboy champion, beat Richard Kovacs of Hungary 15-7, and Cleary followed that up with a 19-6 decision over Kaspers Burkevics of Latvia.
Meanwhile, Ireland experienced contrasting fortunes this evening, with Wayne Kelly progressing but Daryl Byrne and Luke Thomas bowing out at the last-32 stage.
Kelly registered a 15-18 decision over Israeli lightweight Saleem Bibar, but Byrne lost by a two-point margin to Bernard Barsony of Hungary.
Thomas, a bronze medal winner at the 2011 European Championships in Hungary, was beaten by Russia’s Bakhtier Kholov in the light-middleweight class.
“The lads gave it absolutely everything today and they left everything in the ring against tough opponents. The standard is very high at this tournament, ” said IABA Director of Boxing Dominic O’Rourke.
The rest of the 13-strong Irish squad received byes into the last-16 from today's draw and will be in action – along with Joyce, Cleary and Kelly – over the next three days.
Boxing weill recommence at 1pm (irish time) tomorrow. 265 boxers from 35 nations are taking part in the 2012 European Junior Championships.