Wednesday 21 March 2018

'I will be back in the ring' - Shamed boxer Michael O'Reilly vows to make boxing return

Michael O'Reilly. Photo: Sportsfile
Michael O'Reilly. Photo: Sportsfile

David Kearns

SHAMED OLYMPIC boxer Michael O’Reilly has vowed to fight again despite facing a four-year ban over a failed drugs test in Rio.

“I will be back in the ring,” insisted O’Reilly (23) when asked at his Mountrath home, Laois, if the failed dope test had ended his promising career.

“I will [box] again… when this is all over,” he added.

Speaking for the first time following his dramatically suspended from the Rio Games after tests allegedly found a banned substance in his system, the Tipperary boxer told the Sunday World the fight to clear his name was far from over.

“That’s not true. I’ll release a statement and that’ll be very shortly,” he said when asked if there was any truth in rumours that he had turned his back on boxing.

The 23-year-old’s career is bleak though as he is staring at a long ban.

If he receives the maximum of four years, he will not be allowed back into the boxing world until he is 27.

During this time he will not be allowed to associate or compete against any boxers in the Irish system, nor will he be allowed to compete against anyone outside of Ireland.

For a fighter who came into Rio as a European Games champion and a medallist at World Championship level, O’Reilly was expected to be a major medal prospect at the Games.

But not only did his failed dope test likely cost him a Olympic Gold, it seems to have come with a high financial cost for the Clonmel man.

He is set to lose out on €20,000 in the State funding, due to be paid later this year as part of a podium grant system - half of which had already been paid prior to the Olympics.

O’Reilly has previously stated that his positive sample was a result of taking a supplement given to him by “someone unrelated to his team or his association”.

This ‘mistake’ is likely to form the basis for his appeal, though how effective it will be is doubtful as boxing authorities apply a policy of ‘strict liability’ that places responsibility for consuming banned substances squarely on the shoulders of the athlete.

Online Editors

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