Darren O’Neill stops Richards in Olympic qualifier
O’Neill and David Oliver Joyce into last eight but disappointment for Michael O’Reilly
Darren O’Neill is into the last eight in Samsun.
Darren O’Neill and David Oliver Joyce are the latest Irish boxers to advance to the quarter-finals of the European Olympic qualifiers in Turkey, but Michael O’Reilly’s Olympic dream is over after he suffered a surprise defeat.
O’Neill, an Olympian at middleweight in London four years ago, has stepped up to the heavyweight division for Rio but still proved too strong for Gabriel Richards in the evening session in Samsun, stopping his Swedish opponent in the first round of their contest.
O’Neill and Joyce, who defeated Otar Eranosyan of Georgia earlier in the day, are now just two wins away from a guaranteed place at the Olympics. The top three males across weight classes qualify. The finalists automatically go through and the beaten semi-finalists box-off for the remaining places.
The Irish team did suffer a major setback though with the shock elimination of O’Reilly, the number one seed in the middleweight class, was he was beaten by Finland’s Ilari Kijala after a unanimous on the judges’ scorecards.
Olympic champion Katie Taylor will come up against Yvonne Rasmussen of Denmark in the women’s competition where Ceire Smith and Christina Desmond will also hope to advane to the semi-final stage. Just the two finalists in the women’s draw earn Olympic qualification.