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Olympic qualifiers cancelled – no more fights as of tonight

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Ireland’s hopes of getting more fighters qualified for the Olympics have been put on hold.

Team Ireland saw Brendan Irvine secure passage to Tokyo this evening, but remainder of the squad won’t be afforded the chance to follow suit.

The IOC Boxing Task Force this afternoon confirmed the European qualifier in London will be postponed as will all remaining events until May.

Michaela Walsh, Kellie Harrington, George Bates, Aoife O’Rourke, Emmet Brennan and Kiril Afanasev were all due to fight tomorrow, while Dean Gardiner.

The IOC hope to complete the qualifiers in May and June and the fighters will have to wait to see how things are rescheduled.

In a statement released today the IOC explained:

“The European qualifier, which started on 14 March and was planned to run until 24 March, will be closed after today’s evening session.

“Safeguarding the well-being of the athletes, officials and all other participants is a top priority for the BTF. Since the preparation phase of the event, the BTF has been working in close cooperation with the Local Organising Committee (LOC) – the delivery body of the competition – as well as its stakeholders, its own medical experts and the national health authorities, to set up the necessary precautionary measures.

“The BTF eventually took the decision to suspend the event today, amid increasing global travel restrictions and quarantine measures, in order to allow the participants from over 60 countries to adjust their travel plans and return home.

The BTF will continue to evaluate the situation daily, aiming to complete the distribution of the remaining Tokyo 2020 boxing quota places in May and June. The BTF’s priority remains the qualification of athletes on the field of play, and it will inform all stakeholders as soon as more information is available.

“At the same time, the IOC is fully committed to the success of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, as was recently outlined again in the following statement.

“The BTF would like to thank the host nations, the organising committees and all the participants involved for their support and tremendous efforts in dealing with this extraordinary situation.”


Jonny Stapleton contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 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: