Irish hopefuls aim to seal Rio places in Turkish qualifiers

Six male and three female boxers are hoping to secure their Rio tickets over the next week

Katie Taylor is among the boxers competing in Samsun, Turkey. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Katie Taylor is among the boxers competing in Samsun, Turkey. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

 

Irish boxing’s bid to improve the numbers of the team to travel to Rio in August begins on Saturday in Samsun, Turkey.

Six male and three female boxers, including Olympic lightweight champion Katie Taylor (pictured) and London 2012 Olympian Darren O’Neill, are hoping to secure their Rio tickets over the next week.

Paddy Barnes, Michael Conlan, Joe Ward and Stephen Donnelly have already qualified with Barnes targeting a third Olympic medal and Conlan a second before turning professional.

The weigh-in for the qualifiers takes place at the venue today and the draw is then made, which means Taylor could have her first bout this afternoon or evening.

The current European, World and Olympic gold medallist is favourite to take the lightweight title and secure her Olympic place. She will have a second chance to qualify at the Women’s World Championships, when she defends her title next month in Astana.

Paulstown boxer O’Neill is hoping to earn a place in the heavyweight division, having boxed as a middleweight at London 2012.

Dean Walsh competes in the 64 kg class.

The top two females (finalists) in the three Olympic weights for women – flyweight, lightweight and middleweight – qualify for Rio at the 39-nation tournament.

The top three males in the 10 weight classes qualify. The finalists automatically go through and the beaten semi-finalists box-off for the remaining places.

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