Paddy Barnes continued his relentless march toward his third successive Olympic Games in Almaty, Kazakhstan yesterday, but his Irish and Italia Thunder team-mate Michael Conlan was controversially beaten on a split decision in Central Asia.
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Barnes beat Kazakhstan’s Asian champion Temirtas Zhussupov (Astana Arlans) on a unanimous decision (48-47,49-46,48-47) to improve to four wins from four in the WSB this season in the light-fly class. The top ranked light-flyweight at the end of the regular WSB season in April will qualify for the 2016 Olympics.
But Conlan, also lining out for Thunder, was controversially beaten on a split decision by AIBA World No. 1 Kariat Yeraliyev today. One judge scored all five rounds to Conlan (50-45), but the other two marked in 49-46 and 48-47 to the Kazakh bantam. The fight was stopped at 1:53 into the fifth and final round after Yeraliyev was unable to continue because of a cut over his left eye.
The top two ranked bantams at the end of the regular WSB season in April will qualify for Rio 2016. Barnes and Conlan can expect to have another three fights for Thunder over the next two months.
The Arlans won today’s match 3-2. John Conlan, father to Michael Conlan, and Zuar Antia were working the Irish duo’s corners today.
Click here for individual WSB rankings (rankings updated before yesterday’s fights)