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Close but no Olympic Qualification for Kelyn Cassidy

It was a case of close but no Olympic cigar for Kelyn Cassidy again tonight.

The Saviors Crystal fighter came as close as close could be when a point deduction cost him dear against Ukraine’s Oleksandr Khysniak – an Olympic silver medalist, world champion and multiple European champion – in the European Games last year.

In Italy tonight he once again flirted with one of the best wins of any Irish fighter in recent years, when he pushed Nurbek Oralbay of Kazakhstan all the way.

The southpaw matched the experienced operator for the most part but ultimately lost out via split decision.

Cassidy conceded the first round 4-1 but didn’t panic and put himself back in contention after a tentative second.

The Waterford fighter was happy to counterpunch and time his experienced opponent on the way in. It resulted in him leveling things on three cards and setting up a crucial final stanza.

The last three minutes were of the hard-to-score kind with the evenly-matched fighters both enjoying success at various stages.

In the end, it was a round won by the Irish light heavyweight but crucially he didn’t win it on all three of the five cards that had him level going into the last.

Cassidy will now turn his attention the second Olympic qualifier which is scheduled for Thailand in May.

Grainne Walsh suffered a similar fate was very unfortunate not to have qualified earlier today, losing via Tie-Break to Aneta Rygielska.

Jude Gallagher did make it over the line as he defeated Turkmenistan’s Sukur Owezow in Busto Arsizio near Milan.

Photo Credit Tara Robins

1st Olympic World Qualifier Team:

50kg Daina Moorehouse, Enniskerry BC, Wicklow

54kg Jennifer Lehane, DCU Boxing Club, Dublin

66kg Grainne Walsh, St. Mary’s BC, Tallaght, Dublin

51kg Sean Mari, Monkstown BC, Dublin

57kg Jude Gallagher, Two Castles ABC, Tyrone

71kg Aidan Walsh, Holy Family GG BC, Belfast

80kg Kelyn Cassidy, Saviours Crystal, Waterford

92+kg Martin McDonagh, Crumlin BC, Dublin

Jonny Stapleton contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 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: