European Olympic Qualifier – FULL BREAKDOWN – PATHS TO TOKYO

Disclaimer: None of the calculations or permutations in this article are confirmed by the IABA. Details may be incorrect.

As always, please do not share or tag the boxers in this piece as they approach tournaments with a one punch, one round, one fight at a time mentality.

The European Olympic Qualifier finally resumes this Friday (June 4th) in Paris, running until Monday.

The onset of the pandemic last March saw the London tournament paused midway through and it restarts at the same stage this week – with eight Irish boxers hoping to join Kurt Walker and Brendan Irvine on the plane to the Tokyo Olympics this Summer.

Super heavy Gytis Lisinskas has replaced the retired Dean Gardiner but the pro-bound Michael Nevin was unable to be replaced as he had already fought in the London portion of the tournament.

Irvine, who had qualified already by the time proceedings in London were paused, is also in France looking to progress through the tournament and boost his ranking points.

Walker was eliminated from London but has banked enough ranking points over the years to guarantee himself Tokyo qualification through the Boxing Task Force’s (BTF) world ranking qualification route (which has replaced the cancelled final World Olympic Qualifier).

Below Irish-Boxing.com go through each of the eight Olympic-hunting boxers, outlining what they need to do and who. they need to beat this week to make it to Japan (or, in some cases, what needs to happen elsewhere)

Women’s Featherweight (57kg)
Michaela Walsh (Monkstown, Belfast)
European Qualifier Slots 6 (four semi-finalists + box-offs for quarter-final losers)
Path to Tokyo – Starting in the Last 16, Walsh needs two wins. First she must beat French European and EU bronze medallist Mona Mestiaen then she will have two chances – a quarter-final and a box-off. The quarter-final would probably be against Ukrainian veteran Yulia Tsyplakova while the box-off would be most likely to be against either Bulgarian Stanimira Petrova – who beat Walsh in the European Games final – or England’s Karriss Artingstall who Walsh has beaten before but is rapidly improving.
Backdoor Rankings Route – (Assuming entry list remains the same as London qualifier) – Walsh has a good chance of benefitting from this route. If she beats Mestiaen then she would be almost qualified and would only miss out if top-seeded Russian Liudmila Vorontsova also won in the Last 16 but then lost in both the quarters and the Olympic box-off. Vorontsova is set to face strong Italian Irma Testa in the Last 16 – a few bouts before Walsh faces Mestiaen – so we could have a Mick Conlan in Venezuela situation.

Women’s Lightweight (60kg)
Kellie Harrington (St Mary’s, Dublin)
European Qualifier Slots 6 (four semi-finalists + box-offs for quarter-final losers)
Path to Tokyo – Starting in the Last 16, Harrington needs two wins – first versus Poland’s Aneta Rygielska whom she has already beaten this year and then, probably, against reigning IBF super featherweight pro champion Maiva Hamadouche of France. If she loses in the quarters there would be a box-off, most likely versus Russia’s European and World light welter bronze medallist Ekaterina Dynnik.
Backdoor Rankings Route – (Assuming entry list remains the same as London qualifier) – If Harrington loses to Rygielska she may still qualify IF Finn Mira Potkonen qualifies AND BOTH Swede Agnes Alexiusson and Russian Ekaterina Dynnik either lose their Last 16 bouts (very unlikely) OR qualify for the Olympics (not unlikely). If Harrington beats Rygielska but loses both in the quarter and the box-off then she is depending on top-seed Potkonen to qualify. Potkonen needs to beat British wonderkid Caroline Dubois and then, probably, Italian Rebecca Nicoli.

*It was previously believed that just a win over Rygielska would guarantee qualification. This is not the case.

Men’s Light Welterweight (63kg)
George Bates (St Mary’s, Dublin)
European Qualifier Slots 8 (eight quarter-finalists)
Path to Tokyo – In the Last 16 currently, it’s essentially a straight Olympic box-off for Bates. He faces Azerbaijan’s Javid Chalabiyev if he wins he’s going to the Games. If he loses, he is out. It’s an extremely tough fight against Chalabiyev who is a Rio Olympian and a 2013 World Champion but that was at 56kg.
Backdoor Rankings Route – Absolutely no chance. Bates has no ranking points so needs to do his business in the ring.

Men’s Welterweight (69kg)
Aidan Walsh (Monkstown, Belfast)
European Qualifier Slots 6 (four semi-finalists + box-offs for quarter-final losers)
Path to Tokyo – Starting in the Last 16. Walsh needs two wins. First up is tricky Frenchman Wahid Hambli – whom Kieran Molloy beat earlier this year in Jordanstown. Win this would and he have two shots – a quarter-final and, if needed, a box-off. It would likely be Ukrainian Yevhenii Barabanov – a double European bronze winner – in the quarter and decent Georgian Eskerkhan Madiev in the box-off.
Backdoor Rankings Route – (Assuming entry list remains the same as London qualifier) – Decent chance but complicated. Walsh would need to make the quarters and hope Pat McCormack, Andrey Zamkovoy, Lorenzo Sotomayor, and Yevhenji Barabanov all to qualify for the Games. Walsh would also need Turkey’s Necat Ekinci to either lose his Last 16 bout to Austrian Marcel Rumpler OR for the Turk to go all the way and qualify.

Women’s Middleweight (75kg)
Aoife O’Rourke (Castlerea, Roscommon)
European Qualifier Slots 4 (four semi-finalists)
Path to Tokyo – Starting in the Last 16, O’Rourke needs two wins. First she must beat Belarussian Viktoryia Kebikava – who she defeated in her home country at the 2019 European Games. Then it’s probably European final opponent Elzbieta Wojcik of Poland in an Olympic shoot-out.
Backdoor Rankings Route – (Assuming entry list remains the same as London qualifier) – If O’Rourke is beaten in the quarters, she can still qualify via rankings points IF British star Lauren Price, Dutch legend Nouchka Fontijn, and Turkish veteran Sennur Demir all progress as far as the semis. The potential dream-ruiner here is a likely quarter-final between Demir and Zemfira Magomedalieva – which went the way of the Russian when they met at the Bocskai Memorial last year.

Men’s Light Heavyweight (81kg)
Emmet Brennan (Dublin Docklands)
European Qualifier Slots 6 (four semi-finalists + box-offs for quarter-final losers)
Path to Tokyo – Starting in the Last 16, Brennan needs two wins. First he must beat experienced Swiss fighter Uke Smajli then he would have two shots – a quarter-final and, if needed, a box-off. Armenia’s European Games bronze medallist Gor Nersesyan would be the likely quarter-final foe and Sweden’s Liridon Nuha the probable box-off opponent.
Backdoor Rankings Route – Absolutely no chance. Brennan has no ranking points so needs to do his business in the ring.

Men’s Heavyweight (91kg)
Kirill Afanasev (Smithfield Dublin)
European Qualifier Slots 4 (four semi-finalists)
Path to Tokyo – Starting in the Last 16, Dubliner Afanasev needs two wins to qualify. First he must beat Spaniard Emmanuel Reyes and then either Radoslav Pantaleev (who beat him in the World Championships) or former top pro Mateusz Masternak.
Backdoor Rankings Route – Extremely slim. He needs to make the quarters and then would depend on a bucketful of almost unimaginable results to go in his favour.

Men’s Super Heavyweight (+91kg)
Gytis Lisinskas (Celtic Eagles Galway)
European Qualifier Slots 4 (four semi-finalists)
Path to Tokyo – Lisinskas has replaced the retired Dean Gardiner but faces a mountain to climb. Starting in the Last 16, he needs two wins – first versus Bulgaria’s EU silver medallist Petar Belberov and then the winner of Armenian Gurgen Hovhannisyan and Russian Ivan Veriasov. A very tough ask.
Backdoor Rankings Route – Absolutely no chance. Lisinskas has no ranking points so needs to do his business in the ring.

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

Ezoicreport this ad