Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan qualify for Rio
Belfast boxers win through following World Series of Boxing event in Venezuela
Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan show off their bronze medals from the London 2012 Games at a homecoming event in Belfast. Photo: Kelvin Boyes/Inpho/Presseye
Irishboxers Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan both qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics after winning their bouts at the World Series of Boxing (WSB) in Maiquetía, Venezuela in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Barnes, 28, will now compete in his third Olympic Games in Brazil, having won bronze medals at light flyweight in Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012, while Conlan, 23, won bronze at flyweight in London.
Fighting for the Italia Thunder against Caciques Venezuela, Barnes beat Finol Rivas on a split decision (49-45,49-45, 47-48) at light-fly, while Conlan, fighting at bantamweight, beat Jose Diaz 49-46 on a unanimous verdict.
The Belfast duo secured Thunder’s two points as they were beaten 3-2 in the match.
Any victory was good enough for Barnes, who tops the rankings among WSB light-flyweights after a seventh straight win of the season, but Conlan needed to win and for Azeri bantam Magomed Gurbanov to lose away to Puerto Rico’s Hector Garcia.
Gurbanov was the favourite going into the clash, but Garcia put him on the canvas in the fifth on the way to to a unanimous decision.
The results mean that Conlan will be joined by Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin in the 56kg class in Rio.
“We’re absolutely delighted. Paddy and Michael have been magnificent this season, as have all our boxers in the WSB, and we’re delighted to have qualified two for the Olympic Games,” Walsh told the Irish Amateur Boxing Association website.