Gutted Nolan feels he deserved the chance to try and qualify for RIO

Adam Nolan admits he considered hanging up his gloves after realising after he ran into a Cul De Sac on the Road to Rio.

Having won the Senior title late last year the Wexford native felt he was on course to represent Ireland in the Olympic qualifiers, indeed he was confident he had the ability to make successive games.

However, the IABA confirmed Steven Donnelly would Ireland’s welterweight representative after he eventually qualified via the WSB route leaving Nolan disappointed and considering retirement at just 29.

The Bray BC has vowed to box on, but can’t hide his Rio disappointed.

“After winning the senior title a couple of weeks ago, people are under the impression that I’m going to go to a qualifier for Rio in Istanbul but unfortunately that’s not the case,” Nolan told RTÉ Sport.

“Stephen Donnelly has qualified through the World Series of Boxing, the same route that Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan have qualified through.

“He was ratified by the governing body so unfortunately I won’t even get the chance now to go to a qualifier. As far as I’m concerned, and the IABA are concerned, it’s dead in the water.”

“Stephen had his last WSB fight going back six or seven months ago. It was maybe five months later he realised he had qualified because there was a knock-on effect.

“He finished fourth in the WSB and only the top two qualified, but they qualified through a different route as well and had to take those alternative routes. So the number three and four in WSB qualified.

“Going back six or seven months ago I thought I was in with a great shout but as late as November I knew things might not have materialised for me.

“I was hit with this bombshell that winning my fifth senior title was all in vain”

“I was under the impression going into the seniors that if I retained my title, I could be sent to a qualifier. But a couple of days later I was hit with this bombshell that winning my fifth senior title was all in vain – ‘you can’t be sent now, Stephen has been ratified by the governing body’.

“The way they’re looking at it is, they have to ratify him. I have no sour grapes with them, I’ve no grievances but I was hoping for a fair crack of the whip.”

Nolan understands the reasoning behind the IABA’s decision, but still feels he could have been given a chance to qualify.

“Boxing in the Olympics is an amateur sport,” he said.

“Having come through the amateur route, to be told that the World Series of Boxing, a semi-pro route, is going to take priority over the amateur route, doesn’t make sense to me or some fighters. But that’s just the way it is now, I can’t really dwell on it.

“I feel disappointed that I’m not even getting the chance to qualify, and then maybe down the road if I qualified, myself and Stephen could box off to go to Rio.

“But not even to get that chance, to go and try to qualify, is where I feel a little, not bitter, but a little bit let down by the way things have panned out.

“If you look at the 10 weights in Ireland, there are four that have been ratified [through the WSB]. Stephen Donnelly at my weight, welterweight, Joe Ward at light heavy, Paddy Barnes [light-flyweight] and Michael Conlan [bantamweight]

“But when you look at Joe Ward, Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan, they’re top-class, they’ve won major medals.

“They’re the best at the weights so I don’t think the current senior champions at their weights have an argument or case like I have, having won my fifth title, having boxed in London already.

“I feel that given the chance of going to a qualifier, I could qualify. I feel I’m definitely good enough to go to Rio and it’s disappointing.

“If you were allowed to qualify more than one per country at each weight, we could actually represent Ireland with a couple of boxers at each weight. That’s how competitive we are.

“Any boxer will tell you, getting out of Ireland is the hardest thing. It’s going from strength to strength.”

Nolan admits retirement crossed his mind, but claims he will fight on for the year.

“At 29 I’m in the twilight of my career. Rio was my last chance. I’m going to be 33 come Tokyo. This was my last hurrah.”

“I took a while to sink in. I’m not training for Rio now. I’m just training for maybe a multi-nations tournament. But the pinnacle, the ultimate goal for me over the last couple of years was Rio.

“When I found out Stephen had been ratified, I took a couple of weeks off and said ‘that’s it for me’.

“But I’ve been boxing for the last eight years. I’ve become accustomed to it, it’s part of my life and I’ve got the itch. I’m going to box on, for the year ahead anyway.

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