Ireland’s Elite boxers are gearing up for to Strandja multi-nations in Sofia, Bulgaria.

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Just under 30 nations will compete at the 71st edition of the tournament which begins next Tuesday.

Most of the entries are from Europe. However, Kazakhstan, Panama, India, Morocco and the USA are in the mix.

Bernard Dunne, IABA High-Performance Director, believes that the Sofia outing is an ideal test in the build-up to the European qualifiers for Tokyo 2020 in March.

“I think Strandja is a great opportunity for all our athletes to get ring work, to get high-level competition, he said.

“We’re looking forward to getting the guys back in the ring and testing themselves against the best around.”

Ireland is doubling up in seven weights. Former World Elite champion Kellie Harrington and current European U/22 titlist Amy Broadhurst line out at lightweight.

Harrington is returning for her first competitive outing since sustaining a hand injury at last summer’s European Games in Minsk.

Europe is building toward the (European) qualifiers for Tokyo 2020 in London in March.

Four Continental qualification events and a final World qualification event will be decided between February and May 2020.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Task Force for boxing will run the qualifiers for Tokyo 2020 and boxing at the 32nd Olympiad.

“The qualification events represent a fair and transparent pathway to the Olympic Games with equal opportunities for all National Olympic Committees,” said Boxing Task Force Chair and IOC Member Morinari Watanabe.

Two hundred and eighty six – 186 males and 100 females – boxers will compete at Tokyo 2020.

Tokyo 2020 qualifiers.

Asia/Oceania: WUHAN, China, 3-14 February 2020

Africa: DAKAR, Senegal, 20-29 February 2020
Venue: Dakar International Expo Centre, Diamniadio

Europe: LONDON, Great Britain, 13-23 March 2020
Venue: Copper Box arena, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Americas: BUENOS AIRES, Argentina, 26 March-3 April 2020
Venue: CeNARD high-performance athletics training centre

World: PARIS, France, 13-24 May 2020

Strandja Multi-Nations Sofia, Bulgaria January 20/25

Irish squad


51kg Ceire Smith (Cavan) and Carly McNaul (Holy Family)

57kg Michaela Walsh (Monkstown, Antrim)

60kg Kellie Harrington (St Mary’s) and Amy Broadhurst (Dealgan)

69kg Christina Desmond (Fr Horgan’s) and Grainne Walsh (Spartacus)

75kg Aoife O’Rourke (Castlerea)


52kg Jude Gallagher (Two Castles)

57kg Kurt Walker (Canal) and Dean Clancy (Sean McDermott)

63kg George Bates (St Mary’s) and Wayne Kelly (Portlaoise)

69kg Aidan Walsh (Monkstown, Antrim) and Kieran Molloy (Oughterard)

75kg Michael Nevin (Portlaoise)

81kg Emmet Brennan (Dublin Docklands)

91kg Kiril Afanasev (Smithfield)

91kg+ Kenny Ogunbowa (Athlone) or Antoine O’Griofa (Celtic Eagles)


High-Performance Director: Bernard Dunne

Coaches: Zaur Antia, John Conlan, Dmitry Dimitruk, Eoin Pluck