We are still awaiting confirmation from any of the IABA, AIBA, or the Russian authorities – but, going by the AIBA qualification criteria, Steven Donnelly is in line to qualify for next year’s Olympics.
The Ballymena welterweight’s hopes were pinned to 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Andrey Zamkovoy.The silky veteran, who fulfilled Rio qualification criteria through the APB, took on defending champion Radzhab Butaev, a WSB qualifier, this morning in the finals of the Russian championships in Samara.
In a clash of styles, Zamkovoy counter-punched his way to a glorious win to seemingly guarantee himself the Russian Olympic spot at the weight. The final scorecards read 30-27 x2, 29-28 in favour of Zamkovoy who secured his fourth National Title.
While the National Championships do not definitively decide which boxer Russia are sending, they hold a very big bearing. Earlier in the week there was a similar situation with middleweights Petr Khamukov (WSB-qualified) and Artem Chebotarev (APB-qualified) meeting in the Round of 32. Khamukov was victorious and Russian news outlets have since confirmed him as the country’s Rio representative – thus passing the APB slot to the Ukraine’s Dmytro Mytrofanov.
In the aftermath of the win, the Moscow Minister for Public Health and Sports, Roman Teryushkov, shared the following message on social media:
Podoskovny boxer Andrew Zamkovoy became the champion of Russia in the 69 kg weight. Our sportsman for the fourth time won the title of best boxer in the country. Let me remind you that Andrew is the owner of Olympic license, and in 2016 will perform at the Olympic Games in Rio.
All of this means that, in the re-allocation of Olympic slots from the WSB, a spot in Brazil has been, hopefully, moved to Ireland’s Donnelly.
The deadline for associations to confirm the qualification of boxers is December 4th, although one would assume an official statement will be released beforehand.