The IABA have ordered box-offs at light welterweight and middleweight ahead of the final Rio Olympic qualifier next month in Baku, Azerbaijan.
It had been rumoured that the two weights may have seen eight-man tournaments to determine Ireland’s representative for the final qualifier, it now seems that there will be rematches of the 2016 Elite finals instead.
2016 Elite champions Dean Walsh and Michael O’Reilly both failed to qualify for Brazil last month at the European qualifier in Turkey. In Samsun, Walsh lost out on a controversial split decision to #1 seed Lorenzo Sotomayor, while O’Reilly slumped to an injury-affected first round defeat to unheralded Finn Ilari Kijala.
The pair are now faced with do-or-die clashes with the men they defeated in Decemeber’s National finals, emphasising the massive pool of boxing talent on this island.
In December’s championships, Walsh narrowly pipped Mayo’s Moylette to claim his third consecutive 64kg title – however the Westerner wholeheartedly disagreed with the outcome. Up at 75kg, World bronze medalist O’Reilly decisively defeated Newry newcomer Wallace who believes that he may have shown the talented Portlaoise star too much respect.
While the box-offs are awaiting an official announcement, it is believed that four will now renew hostilities at the home of Irish boxing on Monday night.
The winners next week will book their places on the plane to Baku for the final [AIBA Open Boxing] qualifier, where the top 5 in each weight will qualify.
Ray Moylette is also eligible for the APB/WSB qualifier that will take place at a date and location to-be-confirmed, although it is unclear whether the St Anne’s man will participate.