Seven of the eight members of the Irish 2016 Olympic boxing team fly to Rio early this evening on the final leg of a journey which has taken Irish boxing across three continents battling and beating the world’s finest for tickets at the 31st edition of the Games.
Paddy Barnes, Brendan Irvine, Michael Conlan, David Oliver Joyce, Steven Donnelly, Michael O’Reilly and Joe Ward fly out today with Irish management and staff. Men’s boxing begins on August 6th and Barnes, Joyce, and Ward could all be in action.
Defending Olympic lightweight champion Katie Taylor joins the squad in Rio at a later date. Women’s boxing begins on August 12.
Team Ireland have a final training camp lined up for Rio with a number of nations, including the host nation Brazil, before entering the athlete’s village on July 29th.
Team manager Joe Hennigan believes the entire squad are capable of finishing on the podium.
He said: “All preparations have gone very well and the team are more than ready. I think this is a great team of eight boxers. I believe it’s a team that is capable of winning medals from these Olympic Games.”
“They’ve all proven themselves at the very top level in the past, winning medals in Olympic,World, European, European Games and European Union competition and winning in the World Series of Boxing and AIBA Boxing.”
“It’s a team packed with international experience and every one of them is capable of bringing home a medal.”
The Irish team manager added that they will take the first opportunity they get to visit the 9,000 seater Riocentro Pavilion 6 venue for boxing when in Rio.
“That’s something we always do at major tournaments and as soon as the opportunity arises in Rio we’ll take the squad to the tournament venue to let them get the feel of the place.”
Team Captain Paddy Barnes will lead out Team Ireland at what is expected to be a spectacular Opening Ceremony for Rio 2016 at the Maracana football stadium on August 5th.
286 boxers – 250 males and 36 females – will weigh in in Brazil.
Irish 2016 Olympic Boxing Squad
49kg Paddy Barnes (Holy Family Belfast)
52kg Brendan Irvine (St Paul’s Belfast)
56kg Michael Conlan (Clonard Belfast)
60kg Katie Taylor (Bray)
60kg David Oliver Joyce (St Michael’s Athy)
69kg Steven Donnelly (All Saints Ballymena)
75kg Michael O’Reilly (Portlaoise)
81kg Joe Ward (Moate)
Team manager: Joe Hennigan (Mayo)
Coaches: Zaur Antia (Wicklow-Georgia), Eddie Bolger (Wexford), John Conlan (Belfast)
Physio: Julianne Ryan (Limerick)