Kenny_Egan_with_Olympic_silver_medalAUGUST 24 - IRISH boxer Kenny Egan (pictured) had to settle for silver after losing 11-7 to Xiaoping Zhang in the final of the light-heavyweight division at the Beijing Olympics.

The 26-year-old from Dublin, who ended the challenge of Britain's Tony Jeffries in the semi final, was always chasing the contest after home favourite Zhang opened a two-point lead in the first round.

He was never able to get back on terms, staying two points adrift heading into the final round.

Egan went on the attack in the final two minutes and, as a consequence, left himself open for Zhang to extend his winning margin to four points.

The veteran southpaw insisted he was not worried by the way the bout was scored, but admitted it had been hard to adjust to the different points awarded throughout the Games.

Egan said: "The score's the score and I still get a medal.

"The whole Games have been great and a silver is still brilliant.

"Over the past two weeks I don't think anyone's appreciated how hard it's been.

"Shoulder slaps get scored.

"All I could do was get in there and box."

Ireland's coach Billy Walsh said: "You've got to keep working, hunt down every point, which isn't Kenny's game.

"He needs to get ahead early on."

It was Ireland's first silver medal in boxing since the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 when Wayne McCullough was second in the bantamweight division.

It left Ireland with three medals, Egan's boxing team-mates Darren Sutherland Paddy Barnes having won bronze, and 63rd in the overall medals table.

It was their best performance since the Atlanta Games in 1996 when they won four medals, all earned by swimmer Michelle Smith who was later discredited after she was banned for doping.