CONFIRMED: Steven Donnelly has qualified for Rio Olympics

It’s finally here in irrefutable black and white – Steven Donnelly has qualified for next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

irish-boxing.com revealed in October that the Ballymena welterweight was in with a chance of making it to Brazil by virtue of his performance in the World Series of Boxing, and since then it has been a nail-biting countdown to the December 4th deadline for nations to confirm their qualified boxers.

On Sunday, at the Russian National Championships in Samara, Andrey Zamkovoy defeated Radzhab Butaev to put himself, and by extension Donnelly, in pole position for qualification.

Nevertheless, nothing was definitively confirmed and there was always a chance that Russia would pick Butaev and cruelly crush Donnelly’s dreams.

Thankfully, no such injustice has occurred and Donnelly will take his rightful place at the 31st Olympiad next August, with the IOC informing the IABA today of the news.

Donnelly now joins Paddy Barnes, Michael Conlan, and Joe Ward on the plane to Brazil.

Additionally, Irish boxers both male and female in the remaining nine weights will look to book their own flights next year through the Olympic qualifiers in Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Bulgaria.

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: [email protected]