Bernard O’Neill IABA Press Officer
The Irish Amateur Boxing Association have ratified their seven-man squad for the final Olympic qualifier for European male boxers in Trabzon, Turkey in April.
Paddy Barnes, Michael McDonagh, Ross Hickey, Adam Nolan, Joe Ward, Tommy McCarthy and Con Sheehan will line out for Ireland by the banks of the Black Sea.
All seven retained their titles at the National Elite Championships at Dublin’s National Stadium last Friday night.
Ward beat Ken Egan 29-10 and also scooped the boxer of the Championships award.
Michael Conlan, John Joe Nevin and Darren O’Neill, who also retained their Irish titles at the weekend, have already qualified for the Olympics.
The London-bound trio will take part in Ireland’s intensive preparations for the Turkish qualifiers.
The squad will begin an 8-day training camp in the Curragh on Thursday before heading to Germany for a second training camp and a final training camp in the Ukraine.
The Irish team will also compete in the Chemistry Cup Multi Nations which gloves off in Halle, Germany on March 13.
“We have a very difficult task ahead of us to get some more lads qualified. We’ll start knuckling down to that task and begin the hard work at our training camp in the Curragh this week,” said Irish head coach Billy Walsh.
“As ever in international championships and tournaments, the draw is the key. We might get a bye in a division or two or get a fight that we know we can win and it is important to get off to a good start. The draw is vital, both in Turkey and when we go to the actual Games.”
The final Olympic qualifier for European male boxers will take place in Trabzon between April 13th and 22nd.
The 2012 AIBA World Women’s Championships in China in May – where Katie Taylor will be aiming for her fourth gold medal in-a-row – will act as the only Olympic qualifier for female boxers.
Irish Squad for final Olympic qualifier
49Kg: (Light-flyweight) Paddy Barnes (Holy Family GG)
60Kg: (Lightweight) Michael McDonagh (St Mary’s)
64Kg: (Light-welterweight) Ross Hickey (Grangecon)
69Kg: (Welterweight) Adam Nolan (Bray)
81Kg: (Light-heavyweight) Joe Ward (Moate)
91Kg: (Heavyweight) Tommy McCarthy (Oliver Plunkett)
91+Kg: (Super-heavyweight) Con Sheehan (Clonmel)
Olympic quotas (in brackets) remaining at final Olympic qualifier for European boxers in Trabzon, Turkey.
49Kg: Light-flyweight (4) (Semi-finalists will qualify)
52Kg: Flyweight (3) (Michael Conlan has qualified in this weight category)
56Kg: Bantamweight (4) (John Joe Nevin has qualified in this weight category)
60Kg: Lightweight (4) (Semi-finalists will qualify)
64Kg: Light-welterweight (1) (Gold medalist will qualify)
69Kg: Welterweight (2) (Finalists will qualify)
75Kg: Middleweight (2) (Darren O’Neill has qualified in this weight category)
81Kg: Light-heavyweight (3) (Finalists will qualify, plus whoever loses to the eventual gold medalist in the semi-finals)
91Kg: Heavyweight (1) (Gold medalist will qualify)
91+Kg: Super -heavyweight (2) (Finalists will qualify)