Donnelly continues battle for Olympic qualification in Italy Saturday

Irish welter Steven Donnelly will face Dario Morello of Italia Thunder in Italy on Saturday night.

Morello, a team-mate of Paddy Barnes, Michael Conlan and Adam Nolan with Thunder, has lost his only WSB fight this season.

Donnelly, who boxes for the Hussars of Poland, is in third spot in the Individual WSB rankingsand will be looking to at least remain five points behind Mohammed Rabii and keep the pressure on the Moroccan ace with victory.

Rabii, who meets Liu Wei of the China Dragons in Casablanca tomorrow evening, is a point behind Russian’s Razzhab Butaev and five ahead of the 2014 Irish Elite champion.

Butaev will become the first WSB boxer to qualify for the Rio Olympics in he wins on a unaimous decision, KO or TKO against Commonwealth Games champion Scott Fitzgerald of the British Lionhearts in London tonight, regardless of the outcome of his last fight later this month, which will probably be against Rabii in Morocco on April 24.

If Butaev picks up five points in London this evening, the race for the remaining Olympic spot – the top two qualify –  will be between Rabii and Donnelly with the Moroccan holding the advantage – if they both win this weekend.

Donnelly’s last match of the season for the Hussars after this weekend will be at home versus Venezuela on April 24. Irish coach Eddie Bolger will be working his corner against Italia Thunder on Saturday.

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