Ireland experienced contrasting fortunes at the European qualifiers for Tokyo 2020 in London.

Dubliners Emmet Brennan, George Bates and Kiril Afanasev advanced, but Cork’s Christina Desmond bowed out at the Copperbox Arena.

Bates had his hand raised in victory after  Spain’s Leon Dominguez picked up a nasty-looking cut near his eye late in the first round.

And Bates, who was boxing well within himself in the opening frame, won on points (10-9) when it went back to the scorecards.

“I’m very satisfied with the performance, it all went well from the start. I’m planning to go all the way,” said the Irish champion after his win.

Rebel County welter Desmond bowed out in the second fight of the evening session.

The Irish Elite champion was beaten on a unanimous decision by Italy’s Angela Carina, the No.3 seed, following a close all southpaw three-rounder.

Desmond slightly staggered her opponent with a sweeping left in the first round, but the Rome native, the 2019 World Elite light-welter finalist, worked hard throughout an open and clean bout.

Earlier today, Brennan got Ireland off to a winning start after stopping Radenko Tomic of Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Brennan took the first round and piled on the pressure in the second with the ref waving it off after Tomic took a count in the 2nd round.

The Dublin Docklands BC man, who needs a top 6 finish to qualify for Tokyo, will be back in action on St Patrick’s Day against Switzerland’s Uke Smajli.

“I stuck to instructions and it just went a little bit better than we thought. The plan is to go all the way, you don’t come here without planning on that,” said the Irish champion.

Afanasev made it three wins out of four for Ireland after a tough battle with Georgia’s Begadze Nikoloz in the second last bout of the day; Afanasev earning a split decision win to set up a busy St Patrick’s Day for Ireland.


European Qualifiers for Tokyo 2020

Copperbox Arena London March 13/24


March 15

Last 32

63kg George Bates (Ireland) beat Leon Dominguez (Spain) RSCI1

81kg Emmet Brennan (Ireland) beat Radenko Tomic (Bosnia & Herzegovina) RSC2

91kg Kiril Afanasev (Ireland) beat Begadze Nikoloz (Georgia) 4-1



69kg Christina Desmond (Ireland) lost to Angela Carina (Italy) 0-5

March 16

Last 32

69kg Aidan Walsh (Ireland) v Pavel Kamanin (Spain)

75kg Michael Nevin (Ireland) v Pas der Van (Netherlands)

Last 16

52kg Brendan Irvine (Ireland) v Istavan Szaka (Hungary)

51kg Carly McNaul (Ireland) v Charley Davison (Team Great Britain)

57kg Kurt Walker (Ireland) v Hamsat Shadolov (Germany)

March 17

Last 16

57kg Michaela Walsh (Ireland) v Mona Mestian (France)

60kg Kellie Harrington (Ireland) v Aneta Rygielska (Poland)

63kg George Bates (Ireland) v Kiril Rusonov (Bulgaria) or Javid Chalabiyev (Azerbaijan)

75kg Aoife O’Rourke (Ireland) v Viktoriya Kebikava (Belarus)

81kg Emmet Brennan (Ireland) v Uke Smajli (Switzerland)

91kg Kiril Afanasev (Ireland) V Emanual Reyes (Spain)

March 18

Last 16

91kg+ Dean Gardiner (Ireland) v Petar Belberov (Bulgaria)

Irish squad

(Olympic qualification standard in brackets)


52kg Brendan Irvine (St Paul’s, Antrim) Cpt (Top 8)

57kg Kurt Walker (Canal, Antrim) (Top 8)

63kg George Bates (St Mary’s, Dublin) (Top 8)

69kg Aidan Walsh (Monkstown, Antrim) (Top 6)

75kg Michael Nevin (Portlaoise, Laois) (Top 6)

81kg Emmet Brennan (Dublin Docklands) (Top 6)

91kg Kiril Afanasev (Smithfield, Dublin) (Top 4)

91+kg Dean Gardiner (Clonmel, Tipperary) (Top 4)


51kg Carly McNaul (Ormeau Road, Belfast) (Top 6)

57kg Michaela Walsh (Monkstown, Antrim) (Top 6)

60kg Kellie Harrington (St Mary’s, Dublin) (Top 6)

69kg Christina Desmond (Fr Horgan’s, Cork, Garda BC) (Top 5)

75kg Aoife O’Rourke (Castlerea, Roscommon) (Top 4)

High-Performance Director: Bernard Dunne

Coaches: Zaur Antia, John Conlan, Dmitry Dimitruk