"I'm just devastated" - Brendan Irvine gives open and honest interview after his Olympics exit
"The better man won."
Since representing Ireland at the 2016 Rio Olympics, the amateur boxing world was at Brendan Irvine's feet.
It seemed that it was just a matter of making a decision between going pro or entering the cycle for another Olympics.
Ultimately, he chose the latter, but suffered a brutal two years of consistent injuries, that were so persistent and painful, that many thought he had actually gave up on boxing.
However, not only did he persevere and qualify for Tokyo 2020, he was named captain of the Ireland boxing team, and was one of the flag bearers in the opening ceremony.
That alone, was such a huge achievement for the Belfast fighter, but he had his eyes on medals, so to go out in the first bout against Carlo Paalam, was very tough to take.
"What can I do, it's boxing," he told RTÉ Sport.
A disappointed Brendan Irvine reflects on his loss to Carlo Paalam in his flyweight bout #RTESport #Olympics @weerooster @LoveIrishBoxing pic.twitter.com/JyTWvonz4k
— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) July 26, 2021
"This stuff happens every day. The better man won on the day. I did think it was a close fight and I probably could have got it myself but that's just the way it goes.
"It’s been a roller-coaster getting here but I’m proud to have left everything in the ring and give it my all.
"There’s physically nothing I could have done more, so I’ll try and pick myself up and support the rest of the team now."
Although Irvine had marginally the better of the third and final round, his slow start to the fight meant that it wasn't enough to make up the ground he had lost.
Paalam was adjudged the winner on a 4-1 split decision, the cards reading 30-27, 29-28, 28-29, 30-27, 29-28 in favour of the victor.
"I did study him coming into it. I knew he was going to be very explosive and jumping off from the start but I am a slow starter. I did think I won the last two rounds. That’s boxing.
"Two or three years ago I didn't think I'd be standing here, to be honest with you.
"I had a nightmare two years with injuries, trying to get back to fitness and full health and to qualify. Nobody expected me to qualify.
"I was bumping into people in the street and they were saying to me, 'I thought you gave up boxing’. They just didn’t know the nightmare I had faced.
"I’m proud to be representing my country but I am obviously devastated.
"My family are very very proud of me, well I hope so anyway but yeah, I’m just devastated."