John Joe Nevin put Irish sport on the medals table on Day 9 of the 30th Olympiad in London.
The Cavan BC bantamweight beat Mexico's Oscar Valdez-Fierro 19-13 in a thrilling 56kg quarter-final on Sunday to guarantee at least a bronze medal.
The win secured Ireland's first medal in all sports at London 2012.
It also secures a 13th Olympic medal for Irish boxing since Belfast's John McNally won silver - also at bantamweight - at the 1952 Games in Helsinki
Nevin, a two-time AIBA World medalist, will now meet Cuba's Lazaro Estrada-Alvarez, the current AIBA World champion, in the semi-finals on August 10th.
Estrada-Alvarez ousted (16-11) Robenilson De Jesus Viera of Brazil in tonight's corresponding quarter-final.
Mullingar-native Nevin, 23, implemented Billy Walsh's and Zuar Antia's game plan to the letter this evening to record a deserved win.
Valdez-Fierro, a constant ball of aggression rolling forward - his tactics could be best described not so much as a Mexican wave as a Mexican tsunami - was expected to take the fight to Nevin for the entire nine minutes.
And that's exactly what the 2008 AIBA World Youth champion did, particularly in the final minute of a frenetic third and final frame.
Nevin found his range early in the first, and while Valdez-Fierro was doing some good work on the inside, it appeared to be Nevin's round, but, surprisingly, it was scored 5-5 at the bell.
However, Nevin used his superior technique to open up a three point advantage by the end of the second, one left straight down the middle being the pick of the punches from the Irishman.
It all came down to the third round. Fierro-Valdez came out of his corner with all guns blazing.
Nevin weathered the early storm and appeared to be coasting to victory, but he then took a count after a big left to the body on the ropes.
That was all the encouragement that the Mexican needed and he began chasing Nevin down inside the final minute
However, the Irish Elite champion, who is coached by Brian McKeown at the Cavan BC, recovered sufficiently from the mandatory count and showed his class and heart to seal a wonderful victory going down the final stretch.
Nevin collapsed into the arms of Billy Walsh and Zuar Antia at the final bell. Job done and Ireland's fourth medal from the last two Olympics in the bag.
Next up for the two-time AIBA World medalist and 2012 Olympic medalist is Estrada-Alvarez.
It promises to be a battle Royale between two of the most stylist and talented bantamweights in the world.
Katie Taylor guaranteed Irish boxing its 14th Olympic medal since the 1952 Games at the ExCel in London yesterday.
Amid an electric atmosphere, most of which was generated by Irish fans, the Bray BC lightweight saw off the brave challenge of Liverpool southpaw Natasha Jonas from one of the bouts, male or female, of the 30th Olympiad so far.
Taylor, the current World, European and European Union champion, went into today’s four-rounder under enormous pressure to deliver on her Olympic debut.
And amid rousing renditions of Ole, Ole, Ole and the Fields of Athenry, the two-time AIBA World female boxer of the year produced a fantastic performance to register a 26-15 decision over the Merseysider.
This afternoon’s win arrived less than 24-hours after John Joe Nevin secured Ireland’s first medal at the XXX Olympiad with a thrilling victory over Mexico’s Oscar Valdez-Fierro in the English capital.
Taylor will now meet Mayzuna Chorieva of Tajikistan in the semi-finals on Wednesday afternoon.
The Tajik, who Taylor beat 16-6 in the semi-finals of the AIBA World Championships in China earlier this year, eliminated a subdued looking Dong Cheng of China today.
Meantime, as suspected, Ireland’s boxing fans turned the ExCel into Dublin’s National Stadium for Taylor’s Olympic debut.
The last time that an Irish boxer generated such an atmosphere in London, Barry McGuigan, who represented Ireland at the 1980 Olympics, was claiming the WBA World featherweight title at Loftus Road in 1985.
Speaking after her win, Taylor admitted that she was blown away by the support.
“The atmosphere was unbelievable. I knew the support was going to be great, but I didn’t realise it was going to be so great. I just tried to stay calm and composed and I thank God for the victory,”she said.
The Bray woman got off to a flying start and took the first round 5-2, but Jonas finally began unleashing her left in the second, a frame which finished 5-5.
However, Taylor, firing in three-punch combinations, surged ahead in the third and forced Jonas into a standing count off a big right in the fourth en route to what was a comfortable and historic victory for the World number one.
“We’re thrilled with today’s win and delighted to be guaranteed another medal, said Irish team manager Des Donnelly.
“The support for Katie was absolutely incredible. You couldn’t hear yourself think. It was absolutely incredible at the ExCel today and Katie performed brilliantly.”
Taylor has now won medals (14 in total,13 of which are gold) at the Olympics, World Championships, European Championships and European Union Championships.
Today’s victory – which secures the first ever Olympic medal for an Irish female pugilist – also secured Irish boxing a second Olympic medal at lightweight.
Drogheda’s Tony “Socks” Byrne claimed bronze for Ireland in this weight class at the 1956 Games in Melbourne.
Michael Conlan secured Ireland’s third medal at the 2012 Olympics following a three-round thriller with France’s Nordine Ouballi at the ExCel in London tonight.
Both boxers were locked at 12-12 going into the third and final frame, but it was Conlan, who switched from orthodox to southpaw for the entire bout, that took the honours going down the final stretch on a 22-18 decision.
He now becomes the second boxer from the St John Bosco BC in Belfast to win an Olympic medal, following in the footsteps of Freddie Gilroy, who claimed bantamweight bronze at the 1956 Games in Melbourne.
Conlan also joins John Joe Nevin and Katie Taylor of the medals podium at London 2012.
The 20-year-old, who is guaranteed at least bronze, and Ouballi, who had dropped two decisions to the Irish Elite champion prior to tonight, went at it hammer and thongs for the opening three minutes, Conlan meeting his opponents constant aggression with some precision shots, one good right near the end of the round emphasising his insistence that he wasn’t going to be bullied out of this 52kg decider.
Conlan had a solid second round. Good head and foot movement, combined with two big right hooks, and one left kept his opponent guessing. The busy Ouballi, however, was still scoring in the inside. It finished honours even at 7-7.
It all came down to the final three minutes. Ouballi once again piled on the pressure, but Conlan, still boxing southpaw, and still maintaining his composure, starting popping in his jabs and firing home the most potent weapon in his arsenal, his right-hook, en route to claiming a 15th Olympic medal for Irish boxing since 1952.
“This is only me warming up. You haven’t seen the best of Michael Conlan yet,” said a triumphant Belfast ace after he made it a hat-trick of medals for Ireland at the 30th Olympiad.
“It was a really close fight. It was still level going into the third round. Billy (Irish head coach) told me to go for it. I knew I had to and I dug deep.”
He’ll now face Cuba’s Robeisy Carrazana Ramirez in the semi-finals on Friday evening. John Joe Nevin also meets a Cuban opponent in the last-four on Friday.
Carrazana-Ramirez beat number 2 seed, Andrew Selby (Great Britain) 16-11 this evening. Selby edged out Conlan by a single point at the 2011 AIBA World Championships.
Tonight’s win sees the 2012 Olympic squad match the medal haul from the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, where Ken Egan, Darren Sutherland and Paddy Barnes won Ireland’s only medals in all sports.
Barnes will be in quarter-final action tomorrow night. If he emerges victorious then he will become the first Irish boxer in the 101-year history of the IABA to claim two Olympic medals.
Katie Taylor is between the ropes tomorrow afternoon. If Taylor and Barnes win then the 2012 squad will have matched the record haul of one silver and three bronze medals the Irish boxing team took home from the 1956 games in Melbourne.
Meantime, Irish team manager Des Donnelly described Conlan as an “uncut diamond” at the 2011 AIBA World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Well, we can now drop the uncut part.