O’Neill still swinging

Darren O’Neill has marched through to the semi-finals of the Men’s European elite boxing championships.

Darren O’Neill has marched through to the semi-finals of the Men’s European elite boxing championships.

The Kilkenny man beat his Georgian opponent Nikolas Sekhniashvili in an unanimous decision yesterday (Tuesday) to reach the last four of the light-heavyweight division in Sofia. The Eastern European had powered his way through to the quarter-final having TKO’d Armend Xhoxhaj of Kosovo.

The Paulstown boxer comfortably beat Polish opponent, Jordan Kulinski, in the quarter finals in what was also a perfect victory.

The southpaw was a gold medal winner at the last European championships held in Denmark in 2009. Since then he has moved up a weight category to fight in the light-heavyweight division.

The decision to step up a grade from middleweight came after national team-mate Joe Ward picking up a hand injury in training.

An Irish contingent of nine boxers flew out to the Bulgarian capital last week. O’Neill is now guaranteed that he will return home with at least a bronze medal.