‘It’s become very real’ – Bernard Dunne has confidence in sharp Irish team

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Things are about to get real in terms of Olympic qualification, but Bernard Dunne is preaching the one fight at a time mantra.

The High Performance director has noticed a shift in attitude since the 13 strong team arrived in London for the European qualifiers.

The former world champ see’s the increase in intensity as a positive, but is eager for the fighters to view the tournament on a one fight at a time basis.

“The whole team has been performing really well. It’s fine-tuning now. You can see now that it has become very real and the level of attention and focus has really sharpened,” he said.

“We’ll just take it one fight at a time. We’ll take each fight as it comes.”

Team Ireland arrived in London yesterday ahead of the start of the European qualifiers at the Coppebox Arena.

The draw will be made tomorrow at 4 pm. Boxing begins Saturday.

At least 40 nations and over 300 boxers, including Ireland’s thirteen-strong male and female squad, will battle it out in the English capital.

Seven of the 13 Olympic weights (the limits that require top 6 and top 5 finishes) will require box-offs between the losing quarter-finalist to determine the final placings.

Athletes in the other six weights need to reach the quarter-finals or semi-finals (top 8 and top 4).

A total of 77 Olympic places – 50 for men and 27 for women – will be on the line at a tournament expected to match the quality and intensity of a European Elite Championships – with Olympic tickets thrown into the mix.

Meanwhile, 96 of the 286 Tokyo 2020 berths have been earned following the completion of the Asia/Oceania qualifiers in Amman, Jordan this week and the recent African qualifier in Dakar, Senegal.

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Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 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: editoririshboxing@gmail.com