Donnelly’s Olympic fate to be decided next month in Russia

Yesterday we brought you the surprise news that Steven Donnelly may find himself on the plane to Rio if decisions in Russia go his way.

Russia have qualified two boxers for next year’s Olympics, Andrey Zamkovoy and Radzhab Butaev through the APB and WSB respectively.

By being restricted to sending only one boxer to Rio – if Russia elect to send Zamkovoy to Brazil – it appears that Donnelly will qualify for the Olmpics in place of Butaev by virtue of the Ballymena man’s fourth place finish in this season’s WSB.

Today, Sean McGoldrick of the Irish Independent confirmed that Russia’s decision will be based upon their National Championships which will be held in the south-eastern city of Samara next month.

The championships run between November 20th and 29th, and McGoldrick explained that, if Zamkovoy outperforms Butaev in the tournament, he will be granted the Olympic place.

21 year old Butaev and Zamkovoy, six years his elder, met in the final of the last championships – with the youngster overcoming the Olympic bronze medalist by unanimous decision (although Butaev benefitted from a walkover in the semi-finals).

Irish fans will be hoping for a reversal of fortunes if the pair meet in the final (or indeed any stage of the tournament) this time round, to ensure a fourth Irish boxer qualifies for Rio ahead of next year’s qualifiers.

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie