Dean Walsh and Dean Gardiner got Ireland off to a perfect start at the European Olympic qualifiers in Samsun, Turkey tonight.
The Wexford and Tipperary light-welter and super-heavy recorded unanimous decisions over Erik Agataljan of the Czech Republic and Norway’s Simen Nysater.
The wins set up an Ireland versus Azerbaijan double header against Lorenzo Sotomayor and Mahammadrausl Majidor on Monday.
The Azeri pair are the No. 1 and No. 3 seeds in the 64kg and 91+kg classes.
Ireland have no athletes in action tomorrow, but six, including Olympic champion Katie Taylor, are between the ropes Monday.
Taylor, Brendan Irvine and Michael O’Reilly are the No. 1 seeds in their respective weights in Samsun.
Irish team manager Joe Hennigan was thrilled to see Walsh and Gardiner do the double on the opening day of the 39-nation tournament which yields 36 Olympics places, 30 for men.
He said: “We’re delighted to get two wins on the opening day of the tournament. Both our boxers performed well this evening and we’re happy with that. There will be tougher tasks ahead as the best in Europe are here.
“It will be a very busy day for us on Monday as we’ll have six in action and more in the ring on Tuesday. The boys got us off to a winning start today and we’ll be looking to build on that.”
The top three boxers in each of the ten male weights and the top two in the three females weights qualify for Rio 2016 in Turkey.
The light-fly, bantam, welter and light-heavy classes in Samsun are of academic interest to Ireland as Paddy Barnes, Michael Conlan, Steven Donnelly and Joe Ward have qualified for Rio in these weights.
Please click here for draw sheets. Sessions begins at 12pm and 5pm (Irish times) each day.
European Olympic qualifiers Samsun, Turkey
(A & E denotes Afternoon and Evening sessions)
64kg Dean Walsh (Ireland) beat Erik Agataljan (Czech Republic) 3-0
91kg+ Dean Gardiner (Ireland) beat Simen Nysater (Norway) 3-0
51kg Ceire Smith (Ireland) v Virginia Barankas (Hungary) (A)
52kg Brendan Irvine (Ireland) v Hamza Touba (Germany or Siarhel Labame (Belarus) (E)
64kg Dean Walsh (Ireland) v Lorenzo Sotomayor (Azerbaijan) (A)
60kg Katie Taylor (Ireland) v Tasheena Bugar (Germany) or Martina Schmaranzova (Czech Republic) (E)
75kg Christina Desmond (Ireland) v Nouchka Fontijan (Netherlands) (A)
91kg+ Dean Gardiner (Ireland) v Mahammadrausl Majidor (Azerbaijan) (E)
60kg David Oliver Joyce (Ireland) v Otar Eranosyan (Germany) or Bernard Torres (Norway) (A)
75kg Michael O’Reilly (Ireland) v Tomas Pivorun (Lithuania) or Ilari Kijala (Finland) (A)
91kg Darren O’Neill (Ireland) v Gabriel Richards (Sweden) (E)
51kg Ceire Smith (Cavan)
60kg Katie Taylor (Bray)
75kg Christina Desmond (Fr Horgans)
52kg Brendan Irvine (St Pauls)
60kg David Oliver Joyce (AIBA Pro Boxing)
64kg Dean Walsh (St Joesphs/St Ibars)
75kg Michael O’Reilly (Portlaoise)
91kg Darren O’Neill (Paulstown)
91+kg Dean Gardiner (Clonmel)
Team manager: Joe Hennigan
Coaches: Zaur Antia, Eddie Bolger, John Conlan
Physiotherapist: Julianne Ryan
Sports Psychologist: Gerry Hussey
Doctor: Jim Clover
Performance Analyst: Alan Swanton