Michael O’Reilly Qualifies for Rio 2016

Michael O’Reilly has become the eight Irish boxer to qualify for the Rio Olympics with a sensational win against the home favourite in Azerbaijan today.

The Portlaoise middleweight took on Kamran Shakhsuvarly at the final AOB Olympic qualifier in Baku and emerged victorious on a unanimous decision (29-28 x3).

O’Reilly took the opening two rounds to leave Shakhsuvarly with a mountain to climb, and while he took the final stanza, the Irishman was not to be denied a place in Brazil.

The win on hostile ground gave O’Reilly some sort of justice after he had been controversially robbed of a spot in the Olympics following a scandalous loss to Hossam Abdin in a qualification box-off at the World Championships in Doha last October.

The win against an Azerbaijani in Azerbaijan was O’Reilly’s second within the space of a year having defeated Xaybula Musalov in the European Games final last June.

O’Reilly now joins Paddy Barnes, Brendan Irvine, Michael Conlan, David Oliver Joyce, Katie Taylor, Steven Donnelly, and Joe Ward on the plane to Brazil, while Dean Gardiner and Ray Moylette will look to join the party in the coming days and weeks.

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