DATE CONFIRMED – European Olympic qualifier to resume in April

April has become a massive month on the Irish boxing calendar after it was revealed the European Olympic qualifier will resume in the fourth month of next year.

The tournament was originally scheduled to take place from March 14 to March 24th this year, but it was postponed three days in because of the coronavirus and the pandemic that ultimately saw the Tokyo Olympics pushed back a year.

It was confirmed at the time that the event would resume where it left off pandemic permitting.

The event, organised by the International Olympic Committee Boxing Taskforce (IOC BTF), is now set to resume from the point it was halted at the same venue, the Copperbox Arena, from April 22 to 26, 2021.

It is expected that when the event resumes it will do so behind closed doors.

A total of 50 qualification places are available for the men – eight each in the flyweight, featherweight and lightweight categories, six each in the welterweight, middleweight and light-heavyweight categories and four each in the heavyweight and super-heavyweight categories.

For women 27 qualification places are available – six each in the flyweight, featherweight and lightweight categories, five in the welterweight and four in the middleweight.

The event is due to be concluded over five further days of competition including preliminary, quarter-final, semi-final and final bouts.

Although boxers will secure qualification for Tokyo 2020 at different stages in the tournament, depending on how many places are available at their weight class, the competition is set to continue through to the medal stages with a final due to be held in all 13 weight classes.

In weight classes with five or six places available, box-offs will be held to determine the final qualifiers for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, now scheduled to take place from July 23 to August 8, 2021.

Those selected to travel and compete for Ireland before the tournament was postponed will retain their places and get the chance to qualify for the games.

Brendan Irvine by virtue of finishing in the top eight after beating Hungary’s Istavan Szaka is already qualified. He join an illustrious cast of Irish boxers to become a two-time Olympian.

Kellie Harrington, Michaela Walsh, Aoife O’Rourke, George Bates, Aidan Walsh, Michael Nevin, Emmet Brennan, Kiril Afanasev and Dean Gardiner all hold out hope of following Irvine and securing a place on the plane at the first attempt.

Carly McNaul, Christina Desmond and Kurt Walker all exited the tournament before the qualification cut off point in their weight category.

They will now hope to be selected for the World’s Qualifier and look to secure qualification via that route.

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: [email protected]