Irish head coach Billy Walsh has confirmed a 9-man squad for the 39th Chemistry Cup which gloves off in Halle, Germany on Wednesday.
The Irish team arrived in Halle on Friday last following an intensive training camp in Hennef, Germany.
Irish 2012 Olympians Michael Conlan and Darren O’Neill are included in the Irish Chemistry Cup panel along with 2010 and 2011 European champions Paddy Barnes and Joe Ward.
David Oliver Joyce, Ross Hickey, Adam Nolan, Steven Ward and Con Sheehan will wear the Irish lightweight, light-welterweight, welterweight, heavyweight and super-heavyweight vests by the banks of the river Saale.
John Joe Nevin, who has also qualified for the 30th Olympiad, has withdrawn from the tournament after picking up a facial injury boxing for Paris United versus Milano Thunder in the World Series of Boxing
on Monday week last.
Hosts Germany, Algeria, Austria, Brazil, China, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands, Romania, Russia and Uzbekistan have registered to compete in Halle.
Seven AIBA World champions will line out for their respective nations at the tournament.
China’s Zou Shiming and Paddy Barnes could renew acquaintances at the Chemistry Cup. Both boxers met in the semi-finals of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Shiming winning en route to claiming light-flyweight gold.
Russia’s 2009 AIBA World champion Egor Mekhontsev, meantime, could be drawn against Joe Ward in a battle of the southpaws. Mekhontsev is currently ranked number 4 in the world by AIBA. Ward is ranked number 3.
Boxing begins at 11am (Irish time) at the Maritim Hotel in Halle on Wednesday. Wednesday’s preliminaries will be decided over three sessions beginning at 11am, 3pm and 7pm (Irish time).
Ireland are preparing for the final Olympic qualifier for European male boxers which begin in Trabzon, Turkey on April 13th and Irish head coach Billy Walsh believes that the Chemistry Cup will play its part in those preparations.
“We had an excellent training camp in Hennef and the Chemistry Cup will give us a great opportunity to get some competitive bouts under our belt against world class opposition, he said.
“The Olympic qualifiers are just a few weeks away now and the Hennef training camp and the Chemistry Cup are all part of our preparations for those qualifiers.”
On the last occasion that Ireland entered the Chemistry Cup, in May 2007, Darren Sutherland (RIP) claimed bronze.
Ken Egan took home silver from the 2006 edition of the prestigious Multi-Nations tournament.