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Published: 16:41 | 13/8/16

Irish Olympic boxing woes continue

Ireland's Olympics boxing team have only two fighters remaining in the competition after another couple of defeats on Saturday afternoon.

Steven Donnelly was just a win away from guaranteeing a medal but he went down on a split decision to Mohammed Rabii.

The Ballymena native lost to the Moroccan by 29-27 29-27 27-29 as the gold medal favourite's class proved decisive.

Donnelly's footwork ensured the world champion was kept mostly at arm's length in the first round before a solid right hook at the end of it saw all three judges give the round to Rabii.

Round two followed much of the same path with Rabii's strength ensuring his shots registered more with the judges while he also remained a tricky target to hit.

One of the judges gave it to the Irish fighter but with the other two having Rabii ahead by two rounds, Donnelly faced an uphill battle.

His task was made more difficult when the referee gave him the first of two unjust standing counts after a clash of heads - the second one was after Donnelly tripped over his own feet - and despite his best efforts he had too much to do and exits the tournament leaving just Michael Conlan and Katie Taylor to try and secure medals for Ireland.

Earlier in the afternoon Brendan Irvine was eliminated after being dominated by Uzbekistan's Shakhobidin Zoirov in his opening fight.

The Belfast flyweight was outclassed on his Olympic debut by his classy opponent, losing on the judge’s scorecards 30-27, 30-26, 30-27.

Zoirov laid down an early marker when he caught Irvine with a left and quickly established his superiority. Irvine’s confidence was dented and he spent much of the opening round attempting to evade Zoirov's punches.

Such was Zoirov’s excellence that one judge even scored the first round 10-8, with the other pair marking it 10-9.

Irvine came out on the front foot at the start of the second round but the Uzbek continued to do the best work with blood dribbling from the 20-year-old’s nose after a series of accurate, forceful punches.

Irvine knew that a stoppage was his only hope in the final round but despite his best efforts it never looked likely.

Sara Treacy meanwhile has made the final of the 3,000m steeplechase after Team Ireland successfully appealed after she suffered a fall in her heat.

The Irish athlete was brought down when a Jamaican runner fell in front of her, with Ethiopian Etenesh Diro also hitting the deck.

Although all three athletes got back to their feet and completed the race, none qualified for the final.

However, officials have accepted an appeal and all three athletes have been added to the final.

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