Tuesday 6 December 2016

Irish super heavyweight Dean Gardiner one win away from qualification for Rio Olympics

Sean McGoldrick

Published 24/06/2016 | 13:04

Tipperary super-heavyweight Dean Gardiner
Tipperary super-heavyweight Dean Gardiner

Tipperary super heavyweight Dean Gardiner is one win away from securing a place at the Rio Olympics.

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Gardiner maintained his winning streak at the Olympic qualifying tournament in Baku when he fashioned a unanimous 29-28 win over Alexi Zavatin from Moldova. He won the first two rounds and even though his opponent nicked the final stanza it didn’t influence the outcome.

The Irish champion will face Italian Vianello Guido in the final – the latter beat American Marlo Moore – who was coached by Billy Walsh – in the semi-final.

Now that his fighter has been eliminated Walsh will be able to pass on tips to the Irishman whom he coached when he was head of the IABA’s High Performance Unit.

There has been one other significant development at the Baku tournament. Cuban Robeisy Ramirez, who won the gold medal in the flyweight category at London Olympics, has qualified to box in the bantamweight division in Rio.

World champion Michael Conlan is going for gold in the same weight category. In 2012 he was comfortably beaten 20-10 by the Cuban in the semi-final. Now the pair is likely to clash again in Rio.

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