Team Ireland depart for the 35th Gee Multi-Nations in Helsinki, Finland tomorrow morning. Boxing begins Friday in the Finnish capital.
European Games bronze medallist Sean McComb has withdrawn from the team after picking up the flu.
European Games champion Michael O’Reilly has one eye on next month’s European Olympic qualifiers in Samsun, Turkey.
The Portlaoise BC middleweight, who is part of the Irish Athletic Boxing Association’s “Let’s KO Bullying” campaign which was launched at Dublin’s National Stadium yesterday, received a boost this week after moving up one place to No. 2 in the AIBA World 75kg rankings.
“The Gee Bee will hopefully allow me to get three or four fights “ said O’Reilly, who claimed a World Elite bronze medal at the first time of asking last November in Qatar.
The Helsinki panel features a potent mixture of Youth and experience, with London 2012 Olympian Darren O’Neill lining out at heavy, and Stephen McKenna, who won his first Elite belt in December, wearing the Irish light-fly vest.
European Elite bronze medallist Dean Walsh and TJ Waite will compete at light-welter and fly in Helsinki. At least 16 nations are slated to battle it out in the Finnish capital as the clock ticks down toward April’s European Olympic qualifiers which begin on April 7th in Samsun.
The host nation, Australia, Belarus, Belgium, England, Estonia, France, Jordan, Italy, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Slovakia and Sweden have registered to compete at the 2016 Gee Bee Multi-Nations.
Irish interim head coach Zaur Antia and Noel Burke will be working Ireland’s corner.
Irish squad Gee Bee Multi Nations Helsinki, Finland March 11/14
49kg Stephen McKenna (Old School)
52kg TJ Waite (Ormeau Road)
64kg Dean Walsh (St Josephs/St Ibars)
75kg Michael O’Reilly (Portlaoise)
91kg Darren O’Neill (Paulstown)
Coaches: Zaur Antia, Noel Burke
Physio: Ursla Brooks