Northern Ireland

Three Irish boxers fighting for chance to win gold

John Joe Nevin, Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlon
Image caption John Joe Nevin, Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlon are all fighting on Friday

Two Belfast boxers, guaranteed at least bronze Olympic medals, will fight for the chance to win gold later.

Light-flyweight Paddy Barnes will take on Zou Shiming from China in the semi-final at 13.30 BST.

Twenty-year-old Michael Conlan will bid for a place in the flyweight final at 20:45 BST.

Twenty-three-year-old boxer, John Joe Nevin, from Mullingar, County Westmeath, will also fight on Friday afternoon.

He will face Lazaro Alvarez Estrada in the semi-finals of the bantamweight division at 14:00 BST.

The Cuban is the current bantamweight world champion.

'Most successful'

Paddy Barnes is the first Irish boxer to win a medal at consecutive Olympic Games. He won bronze the last time round in Beijing.

His father - Paddy Barnes Sr - said it was the "biggest fight" of the boxer's life.

He told BBC Radio Ulster: "Patrick's a different person from four years ago, he's a completely different person. He's a far improved boxer and I think and hope people are going to see the best of Paddy Barnes today."

Barnes and his teammates are already part of the most successful Irish Olympic team since 1956, with five medals guaranteed.

Boxer Katie Taylor won Ireland's first gold medal at London 2012 on Thursday.

The 26-year-old, from Bray, County Wicklow, beat Russia's Sofya Ochigava in the women's lightweight boxing final.

London 2012 is the first Olympic Games in which women have competed in the boxing ring.

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