The Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) have confirmed a four-strong squad for the penultimate Rio 2016 Olympic qualifiers in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Dean Walsh, Michael O’Reilly, Darren O’Neill and Dean Gardiner, all current Irish Elite champions, will line out at light-welterweight, middleweight, heavyweight and super-heavyweight at the qualifiers which begin next Thursday in Baku.
The quartet are currently in training camp in Baku with Ireland’s six male Rio 2016 Olympians – Paddy Barnes, Brendan Irvine, Michael Conlan, David Oliver Joyce, Steven Donnelly and Joe Ward – and Ray Moylette and Connor Wallace.
Moylette and Wallace were under consideration for the light-welterweight and middleweight Irish vests for the Azerbaijan qualifiers. Both men have been training and sparring with Walsh and O’Reilly in the Azeri capital since last weekend.
However, after a detailed selection process under the expertise of Team Ireland head coach Zuar Antia and Irish coaches Eddie Bolger and John Conlan, Antia tonight (June 9th) recommended that Walsh and O’Reilly, who claimd European Games gold in Baku last year, join O’Neill and Gardiner on the Irish team for the qualifiers which yield 39 Olympics places.
The top five light-welterweights and middleweight in Baku will book tickets for Rio 2016. Heavyweights and super-heavyweights have no margin for error as they must win gold as there is only one Olympic berth available in each weight.
The final qualifier for the 2016 Olympic Games will be held in Vargas, Venezuela next month.
Rio 2016 Qualification Tournament Baku, Azerbaijan June 16/24
64kg Dean Walsh (St Josephs/St Ibars)
75kg Michael O’Reilly (Portlaoise)
91kg Darren O’Neill (Paulstown)
91+kg Dean Gardiner (Clonmel)
REMAINING ROADS TO RIO
World Tournament Baku, Azerbaijan, June 16/25
Olympic Places: 39
World Series of Boxing v AIBA Pro Boxing Vargas, Venezuela, July 3/8
Olympic Places: 26
Irish boxers qualified for Rio 2016
60kg (Lightweight – Katie Taylor (Bray)
49kg (Light-flyweight) – Paddy Barnes (Holy Family)
52kg (Flyweight) – Brendan Irvine (St Paul’s)
56kg (Bantamweight) – Michael Conlan (Clonard)
60kg (Lightweight) – David Oliver Joyce (St Michael’s Athy & AIBA Pro Boxing)
64kg (Light-welterweight) –
69kg (Welterweight) – Steven Donnelly (All Saints)
75kg (Middleweight) –
81kg (Light-heavyweight) – Joe Ward (Moate & AIBA Pro Boxing)
91kg (Heavyweight) –
91+kg (Super-heavyweight) –