By Bernard O’Neill
One hundred and fifteen boxers, including Irish captain Brendan Irvine, have qualified for Tokyo 2021 directly through the Continental qualifiers in Africa, Asia/Oceania and the partially completed European route.
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286 boxers – 186 males and 100 females – will battle it out at the 32nd Olympiad which has been postponed from July/August this year until July/August 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
39.1% are now “over the line”, while the remaining places will be booked through the rearranged Americas, European and World qualifiers at dates to be confirmed.
Nine Irish boxers remain in the qualification mix at the Europeans which were postponed after three days of competition this month in London with 16 of the 77 Tokyo 2021 places secured in the male fly and feather limits.
Rio 2016 Olympian Irvine, the Irish skipper in London, reserved a place at his second successive Olympiad after beating Hungarian flyweight Estovan Szaka a few hours before the curtain came down on the competition because of the coronavirus on St Patrick’s Eve.
Irvine joins an illustrious cast of two-time Irish Olympian which includes Olympic champions Michael Carruth and Katie Taylor and Olympic medallists Wayne McCullough, John Joe Nevin and Michael Conlan.
Phil Sutcliffe and Kieran Joyce and many other legends of the sport represented Ireland at two Olympiads.
Ireland’s first two-time Olympians were Myles McDonagh and Maurice “Mossy” Doyle (both Army BC and Garda BC) at Paris 1924 and Amsterdam 1928.
Two-time Olympic bronze medallist Paddy Barnes is Ireland’s only three-time boxing Olympian, while Taylor, so far, is Ireland’s only female boxing Olympian and champion.
The European qualifiers resume next February and March at a host city to be confirmed, followed by the World qualifiers in May/June 2021.