Glasgow 2014: Northern Ireland's boxers shine at Commonwealths
Northern Ireland are guaranteed nine medals in the ring at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games after five more boxers reached the semi-finals.
Light-flyweight Paddy Barnes, flyweight Michaela Walsh, bantamweight Michael Conlan, welterweight Steven Donnelly and middleweight Connor Coyle all won their last-eight bouts on Wednesday.
London 2012 Olympic champion Nicola Adams is one of seven England boxers who secured at least a bronze medal, while Wales and Scotland are each assured of five and four respectively.
Northern Ireland, who came to Glasgow with an 11-strong team, won five medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, including three golds. Barnes and Conlan also won bronzes at the 2012 Olympics.
Adams outclassed Sri Lanka's Erandi de Silva in her flyweight quarter-final and could fight Walsh in the final after she outpointed Jamaica's Sarah Joy Rae.
Walsh, from Belfast, will take on India's Pinki Rani in the last four while Leeds boxer Adams, who floored De Silva in the first round, will meet Canada's Mandy Bujold, the reigning Pan American Games champion.
Belfast bantamweight Conlan will fight Wales' defending champion Sean McGoldrick on Friday after both men won their quarter-final bouts. Also at 56kg, England's national champion Qais Ashfaq beat Scotland's Joe Ham.
Conlan moved into the semi-finals with a comfortable points victory over Uganda's Bashir Nasir, while McGoldrick was fortunate to earn a split decision over South African southpaw Ayabonga Sonjica.
|Northern Ireland's nine guaranteed boxing medallists|
|Light-flyweight Paddy Barnes, women's flyweight Michaela Walsh, bantamweight Michael Conlan, welterweight Steven Donnelly, middleweight Connor Coyle, women's lightweight Alanna Audley-Murphy, light-heavyweight Sean McGlinchey, light-welterweight Sean Duffy, lightweight Joe Fitzpatrick|
Ashfaq, a slick southpaw from Leeds who was tipped to win a medal by former two-weight world champion Amir Khan, fights Kenya's Benson Njangiru next.
In the heavyweight category, England's Warren Baister was devastated after losing a split decision against Canada's Samir El-Mais. El-Mais sustained a cut over his right eye but the Sunderland man never really got into his stride.
But Scotland heavyweight Stephen Lavelle is through to the last four after he outpointed rangy Indian Sin Amritpreet. Lavelle, a three-time Scottish champion, will meet New Zealand's David Light for a place in the final.
At light-flyweight category, Wales captain Ashley Williams earned a unanimous decision over Malaysia's Muhamad Mohd Redzuan to reach the last four.
If Williams gets past India's Devendro Laishram, who reached the quarter-finals at the 2012 Olympics, he could face Barnes in the final.
Team captain Barnes stopped Papua New Guinea's Charles Keama in the third round and will meet Ghanaian Olympian Tetteh Sulemanu next.
At welterweight, England's Scott Fitzgerald won a barnstorming fight against New Zealand's Bowyn Morgan, nicking a split decision despite taking plenty of punishment and having a cut from a previous fight reopened.
Preston's Fitzgerald will fight Tulani Mbenge of South Africa in the last four.
On the other side of the draw, Donnelly upset experienced Canadian Custio Clayton, an Olympic quarter-finalist in London, and will take on Mandeep Jangra for a place in the final.
And Coyle became the ninth Northern Irish boxer into the semi-finals when he outclassed South Africa's Siphiwe Lusizi. He could fight England's Anthony Fowler in the final if he beats Indian hope Vijender Singh.
Liverpool's Fowler earned a straightforward points victory over Kenya's Nickson Abaka and will next fight Zambia's Benny Muziyo.
Wales' Lauren Price and Savannah Marshall, England's first female world champion, are on course to meet in the women's middleweight category.
Caerphilly's Price, a former kickboxing world champion and international footballer, outpointed Australia's Kaye Scott to set up a semi-final clash against Canada's Ariane Fortin, a two-time world champion.
Hartlepool's Marshall earned a unanimous decision over Botswana's Pearl Morake and will fight Nigerian Olympian Edith Ogoke next.
Home nations interest in the women's lightweight category was extinguished by India's Laishram Devi, who beat Wales' Charlene Jones via a split decision.