Michael O’Reilly sensationally beat Kazakhstan’s current AIBA World Elite 75kg champion Zhanubek Alimhanuly to guarantee himself at least a bronze medal at the World Elite Championships in Doha, Qatar today.
The Portlaoise BC middleweight, the current European Games champion, took the first round against the Kazakh, who beat Ireland’s Jason Quigley in the 2013 World Elite final, but Alimhanuly came storming back to level the bout by the end of the second.
However, O’Reilly finished the stronger, particularly in the final 30 seconds, to split the judges in his favour and book his ticket into Sunday’s semi-final.
The top three middleweights in Doha qualify for Rio 2016. Likewise, O’Reilly will now have two shots at Olympic qualification.
If he reaches the final he qualifies outright, but if he loses in the semi-final he will meet the other losing semi-finalist in a box-off for the 31st Olympiad.
O’Reilly now has one hand on a World Elite medal, at least bronze, and is major step closer to Rio 2016. Watch video below and see what O’Reilly had to say about the win.