APRIL 6TH – Olympic champion Katie Taylor, Ceire Smith and Irish interim head coach Zaur Antia left Ireland’s training camp in Assisi, Italy this morning for the European Olympic qualifiers in Samsun, Turkey.
Both boxers could be in action at the tournament which begins Saturday.
The rest of the Irish squad, which includes Darren O’Neill, Dean Gardiner, David Oliver Joyce, Michael O’Reilly, Christina Desmond, David Oliver Joyce, Dean Walsh and Brendan Irvine leave Assisi for Samsun tomorrow.
Twenty two boxers have entered the 39-nation tournament in Taylor’s lightweight class.
The top two females (finalists) in the three Olympic weights for women – flyweight, lightweight and middleweight – qualify for Rio.The top three males in the ten weight classes qualify. The finalist automatically go through and the beaten semi-finalists box-off for the remaining places.
Thirty Olympic places are up for grabs for men in Samsun and six for women. 233 men and 59 women have entered.
The European qualifiers are the final continental route to Rio following the completion of the Americas, African and Asia/Oceania events earlier this month and in March.
201 boxers, including the six host places for Brazil, will have booked tickets for the 31st Olympiad after the final bell tolls in Samsun. 26 boxer – 250 men and 36 women – compete at each Olympics.
Following Samsun, three qualifiers will remain through the World Women’s Elite Championships in Astana, Kazakhstan, May 19/27, a final AIBA Open Boxing (regular amateur boxing) for men in Baku, Azerbaijan, June 14/26, and a World Series of Boxing versus AIBA Pro Boxing clash in either late June or early July at a host city to be confirmed.
Team Ireland are training with Italy, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Finland, Sweden in Assisi this week.
Paddy Barnes, Michael Conlan, Steven Donnelly and Joe Ward have qualified for Rio 2016.
Barnes, Conlan and Ward are also in training camp in Assisi. The Rio trio return home tomorrow. Donnelly was in action – he won – in the World Series of Boxing last weekend in Poland.
Team Ireland European Olympic Qualifiers Samsun, Turkey
51kg – Flyweight
Club: Cavan BC
Major honours: Four Irish Elites titles. Felix Stamm multi-nations silver 2015
AIBA World rank: 24
Flyweight entry in Samsun: 21
Club: Bray BC
Major honours: Current Olympic, World, European Elite, European Games, European Union and Irish champion
AIBA World Rank: No. 1
Lightweight entry in Samsun: 22
75kg – Middleweight
Club: Fr Horgan’s BC (Cork)
Major honours: Current Irish Elite champion. World Youth silver medallist. Irish Youth Olympian
AIBA rank: Not Ranked
Middleweight entry in Samsun: 16
52kg – Flyweight
Club: St Paul’s (Antrim)
Major honours: Two-time (current) Irish Elite champion. European Games 2015 silver medallist
AIBA rank: No. 6 at light-flyweight. (Brendan has since moved up to flyweight).
Flyweight entry in Samsun: 18
60kg – Lightweight
David Oliver Joyce
Club. (David Oliver is contracted to AIBA Pro Boxing (APB). Formerly of the St Michael’s Athy BC)
Major honours: Six time (current) Irish Elite champion. Three-time European Union (current). Ex World Series of Boxing
APB rank from 2015 season. No. 4
Lightweight entry in Samsun: 26
64kg – Light-welterweight
Club: St Ibars/St Josephs (Wexford)
Major honours: Three time (current) Irish Elite champion. 2015 European Elite bronze medallist
AIBA World rank: No. 22
Light-welter entry in Samsun: 24
75kg – Middleweight
Major honours: Three time (current) Irish Elite champion: 2015 European Games champion. 2015 World Elite bronze medallist
AIBA World rank: No. 2
Middleweight entry in Samsun: 32
91kg – Heavyweight
Club: Paulstown (Kilkenny)
Major honours: Six time (current) Irish Elite champion. London 2012 Olympian. 2010 European Elite silver medallist. European Union gold. World Series of Boxing
AIBA World rank: No. 37
Heavyweight entry in Samsun: 24
91+kg – Super heavyweight
Major honours: Two-time (current) Irish Elite champion. Feliks Stamm multi-nation silver 2014. World Series of Boxing
AIBA World rank: No. 40
Super-heavyweight entry in Samsun: 19
Team manager: Joe Hennigan
Coaches: Zaur Antia, Eddie Bolger, John Conlan