OLYMPICS: Steven Donnelly delighted after Rio victory

Ireland's Steven Donnelly with Zohir Kedache of Algeria
Ireland's Steven Donnelly with Zohir Kedache of Algeria

Ireland’s Steven Donnelly is through to the last 16 of the 69kg division at the Olympic Games after victory in Rio on Sunday.

The Ballymena fighter was just too good for Algerian Zohir Kedache as he had a unanimous first round win on a 29-28, 30-26, 30-27 score card.

Donnelly - who represents the All Saints club - will now face Tuvshinbat Byamba of Mongolia in the last 16 on Thursday (16:45 BST).

Donnelly needs two more victories to guarantee at least a bronze medal and he was pleased with the start he has made to his first Olympic Games.

“It was a great win for me and it is always good to get the first one out of the way with the pressure coming into it and with everyone watching at home.

“But I am glad to get three good rounds under my belt and come away with the win,” he added.

And Donnelly was pleased with the way the fight had gone.

“I felt comfortable in there and he was an awkward southpaw, but I just had to listen to my coaches in my corner and use my jab and feint.

“But there were times there I was falling in but that will go with more rounds and I get my sharpness.

“I will be better the next time, but I am over the moon with the win.

“This welterweight division is hard and packed with talent but I have the ability to win a medal. I will get better with every fight and this is only the start of the journey.

And Donnelly says the Ireland boxing team have coped very well with Michael O’Reilly failing a drugs test.

“To be honest, it hasn’t really affected us and we have to focus on our own game and I don’t really know much about that but we just have to focus on our game and the spirit in the camp is fantastic. We are all going for gold and we are all happy.”

And Donnelly cannot believe he has finally become an Olympian.

“It is the most fantastic feeling . This is what dreams are made of and since I started boxing at the age of 13 I wanted to fight at the Olympics.

“It was great coming in here to all the flags and getting the win.

“This is what every boxer dream of as a kid and I want this to continue the whole way to a medal in the coming days,”

And David Oliver Joyce also went through to the next round as he saw off Andrique Allisop of the Seychells over three rounds.

It was a good performance from Joyce and he can now look forward to the next round.

Joyce will now face Albert Selimov of Azerbaijan in the last 16.

And Belfast’s Paddy Barnes will get his Olympic campaign up and running on Monday as he faces Spain’s Samuel Carmona at 49kg.

Barnes is a big favourite to win gold at the Games and he will be looking to get his bid for a medal off to a good start against the Spaniard.