Olympic blow for Joyce in contentious defeat
David Oliver Joyce's hopes of qualifying for the 2016 Olympics through AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) this season ended contentiously on Saturday night.
The three-time EU lightweight champion was beaten on a unanimous decision by Hurshid Tojabaev in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
The Uzbek lightweight, who was on the back foot for almost the entire eight rounds, was handed a 77-75 verdict across the board. Tojabaev was on the floor in the 60kg clash, but it was ruled a slip, although Joyce's sweeping right hook helped him on his journey to the mat.
Tojabaev will now meet Russia's Dimitry Polyanski, who beat Brazil's Donata Conceicao in Tashkent, for a place at the Rio Games and the 2015 APB lightweight final in July.
Meanwhile, Joe Ward will meet French light-heavy Mathieu Bauderlique in Sofia, Bulgaria, next Saturday, two wins away from qualifying for Rio and reaching the 81kg APB final.
Bauderlique has returned to APB from the pro ranks where he was unbeaten after nine fights. If Ward wins he will meet either Bulgaria's Spas Genov or Kennedy St Pierre of Mauritius for a place at Rio 2016.