Brendan Irvine qualifies for second Olympic Games with dominant display

Kurt Walker loses out on place in Tokyo ahead of postponement of qualifier

Ireland’s Brendan Irvine lands a straight right to Hungary’s Istvan Szaka during their flyweight bout at the Tokyo European Boxing Olympic qualifying event at the Copper Box Arena in London. Photograph: James Chance/Getty Images

Ireland’s Brendan Irvine lands a straight right to Hungary’s Istvan Szaka during their flyweight bout at the Tokyo European Boxing Olympic qualifying event at the Copper Box Arena in London. Photograph: James Chance/Getty Images

 

Irish flyweight Brendan Irvine became the first Irish boxer to qualify for Tokyo 2020 on a chaotic day in the Copper Box Arena in London.

As the European leg of the Olympic qualification tournament was brought to a close mid-session on Monday by the International Olympic Committee Boxing Task Force (BTF) because of concerns over Covid-19, Irvine stepped up in the evening session to dominate his bout against Hungary’s Istavan Szaka.

The Belfast 23-year-old won impressively by unanimous decision in a demonstration of power boxing, dominating Szaka from the beginning to win all three rounds for a place in his second Olympic Games after Rio 2016.

Irish featherweight Kurt Walker, seeded two for the event, arrived in shortly after Irvine and lost to German Hamsat Shadalov by unanimous decision in a disappointing return for the 2017 European bronze medallist.

High performance director for Irish boxing, Bernard Dunne, said he was disappointed by the way the qualifying tournament was postponed mid-session on the third day.

“It is disappointing,” said Dunne. “They should have waited [to announce the postponement] until all the boxing was completed. There are no dates as to when they will run them again, no clarity on that yet.

“I am surprised we started the tournament. They should not have run the tournament or else let it run to a point, where the qualifiers were known.”

The news was relayed to the boxers during a break between the afternoon and evening sessions on Monday. Irish boxing officials understand that when the qualifier recommences, it will start from where the current tournament has finished.

The IOC Boxing Task Force, who have taken over running Olympic boxing issued a statement saying travel restrictions brought about by the coronavirus pandemic forced their hand.

“The BTF eventually took the decision to suspend the event today, amid increasing global travel restrictions and quarantine measures, in order to allow the participants from over 60 countries to adjust their travel plans and return home,” it said.

“The BTF will continue to evaluate the situation daily, aiming to complete the distribution of the remaining Tokyo 2020 boxing quota places in May and June.”

The London event was the European qualifier and started on March 14th. It was scheduled to run until March 24th. Up to 350 men and women from as many as 50 countries were taking part in what was the first opportunity for boxers from Europe to qualify for Tokyo 2020.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.