Brendan Irvine doesn’t want an Andy Lee Athens Olympic experience

Brendan Irvine doesn’t want to have to do an Andy Lee and do it all alone.

‘The Wee Rooster’ is currently the only Irish boxer qualified for the delayed Tokyo Olympics, something he hope changes before next summer.

Irvine was one of only 16 from 322 hopefuls to earn an Olympic spot before the European Qualifiers were cancelled mid tournament last March.

Ireland are more than hopefully a number of other Irish fighters will follow suit, but as it stands the 52kg fighter is the only one on the plane. It was something Andy Lee had to deal with back in 2004, as the only Irish fighter to qualify for the Athens Olympics.

“I couldn’t imagine being at the Games by myself,” Irvine told the Irish Mirror.

“It seems like such a strange thing, but Andy Lee had to do it.”

Toyko won’t be Irvine’s first Olympic experience, but he is hoping it will be a better one that the one endured over four years ago.

The 2015 European Games medal winner and Rio bolter exited in the first round losing out to Uzbekistani eventual gold medallist Shakhobidin Zoirov in a by now infamous Olympic innings for Ireland.

“I take it with a pinch of salt now,” Irvine said with regards to his own fight “I was only 20 and I was thrown in at the deep end.

“My opponent, right from the start he was in my face. I didn’t even have time to blink and after I had tried so hard to get there, it was all over so quickly,” he continues before discussing the wider problems.

“It started with the anti-doping problem with Michael O’Reilly and the atmosphere sort of dipped from there. And none of our boxers got any luck. We got nothing.”

That was the case with Taylor and Conlan, in particular.

“Everyone’s seen those fights, those boxers won those fights,” said Irvine.

“I really don’t know how it works when that can happen. It was an utter disgrace.”

“But if Michael didn’t react the way he did, it probably would still be happening. He probably did the best thing for the future of the sport.”

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com