Katie Taylor eases by Czech challenge and ever closer to Rio
Christina Desmond and Ceire Smith edge closer to Rio in European Olympic qualifiers
Ceire Smith and Christina Desmond both enjoyed wins in Turkey on Monday. Photograph: Inpho
Olympic lightweight champion Katie Taylor took the first step towards defending her title in Rio next August with a win in the European Olympic Qualification tournament in Samsun, Turkey. Taylor beat Czechoslovakia’s Martina Schmoranzova on a unanimous decision.
Undefeated at European, World or Olympic level for more than a decade, Taylor now meets Denmark’s Yvonne Rasmussen on Wednesday. A win against the Dane would leave her just one bout away from securing her place in Rio.
It is Taylor’s hope to secure qualification at this event, even though she has the World Championships this summer before Rio, which would provide another opportunity to get to her second Olympics.
But the bout of the day was the stunning win of Cork middleweight Christina Desmond, who also advanced from the last 16 and is two wins away from a ticket to Rio. In one of the biggest upsets of the day, Desmond defeated the Dutch number one Nouchka Fontijan 3-0.
Fontijan, the gold medal winner at last year’s European Games in Baku and a World Championship bronze medal winner in Jeju, South Korea in 2014, was hotly tipped to be one of the qualifiers in the middleweight division.
Desmond meets Petra Szatmari of Hungary in the next round.
Cavan’s Ceire Smith also came through with a 3-0 over Hungarian, Virginia Barankas, making it three out of three for the women’s team. Smith will face Ukrainian Tetyna Kob on Wednesday. The two finalists from each of the three weight divisions will qualify for Rio.
On the men’s team there was a mixture of disappointment and success. Dean Walsh, nephew of US Women’s team coach Billy, bowed out of the competition. The Wexford light-welterweight was beaten on a split decision by Cuban Lorenzo Sotomayor, now residing in Azerbaijan.
It was Walsh’s second fight in the competition having beaten Erik Agataljan of the Czech Republic in the preliminary round.
However Belfast’s Brendan Irvine came through his bout in the 52kg class. The 19-year-old top seed from the St Pauls Club, who won a silver medal in the Men’s 49 kg at the European Games last summer in Baku, defeated Germany’s Hamza Touba for a place in the last eight.
Dean Gardiner, one of the later fights on Monday evening lost on a unanimous decision to the third seed Mahammadrasul Majidov in the preliminary round of the super heavyweight division.
The top three boxers in each of the 10 weight divisions will qualify for Rio.
51kg Ceire Smith (Ireland) beat Virginia Barankas (Hungary) 3-0
52kg Brendan Irvine (Ireland) beat Hamza Touba (Germany) 3-0
64kg Dean Walsh (Ireland) lost to Lorenzo Sotomayor (Azerbaijan) 1-2
60kg Katie Taylor (Ireland) beat Martina Schmaranzova (Czech Republic) 3-0
75kg Christina Desmond (Ireland) beat Nouchka Fontijan (Netherlands) 3-0
91kg+ Dean Gardiner (Ireland) lost to Mahammadrausl Majidor (Azerbaijan) 3-0
60kg David Oliver Joyce (Ireland) v Otar Eranosyan (Georgia)
75kg Michael O’Reilly (Ireland) v Ilari Kijala (Finland)
91kg Darren O’Neill (Ireland) v Gabriel Richards (Sweden