Tuesday 6 December 2016

O'Reilly hit by further blow in bid to make Rio Olympics

Bernard O'Neill

Published 17/10/2015 | 02:30

Michael O'Reilly will have one final chance to make Rio at the European qualifiers next year
Michael O'Reilly will have one final chance to make Rio at the European qualifiers next year

Irish middleweight Michael O'Reilly has been hit with another blow following his controversial Olympic Games box-off defeat by Egypt's Hossam Abdin at the World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

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The verdict was described as disgraceful by Ireland head coach Billy Walsh. And now it has been confirmed that any boxer who won a ticket for Rio via the WSB and AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) prior to the World Championships must take the Olympic place they earned in Doha.

A number of boxers, including Ireland's Michael Conlan and Cuba's Arlen Lopez, who both won gold in Doha, effectively qualified for the Olympics twice.

Bumped

O'Reilly was hoping that Cuba would take the place Lopez won through the WSB. That would have bumped the Irishman up into the top three in Doha - enough to qualify for Rio.

However, the Olympic spot Lopez won through the WSB will now go to the next best-placed WSB fighter.

The Portlaoise BC man, who won bronze in Doha, will have one final chance to make Rio at the European qualifiers next year. If he gets signed for the World Series of Boxing (WSB) he'll have another opportunity.

The focus now turns to the women, with their World Championships scheduled for Astana in Kazakhstan, beginning on January 14.

With the event doubling as an Olympic qualifier, Katie Taylor will be bidding to qualify for Rio as she sets out to become the first woman to win six world titles in any weight division.

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