World No. 3 ranked middleweight Michael O’Reilly believes that 2016 will be a special year.
The Portlaoise BC man took the international Elite circuit by storm in 2015 after claiming European Games gold and, at the first time of asking, World Elite bronze in 2015 and has his sights firmly set on the Olympic qualifiers in Samsun, Turkey in April.
The 2011 European Youth silver medallist was denied at place at Rio 2016 after being adjudged to have lost to Egypt’s Hosam Abdin – a fight which O’Reilly clearly won – in a box-off for Rio 2016 at the World Championships in Qatar last November.
“2015 was a very special year for me, getting a European Games gold medal, world bronze. It’s gone by very fast,” O’Reilly, the current Irish Elite champion, told the Irish News.
“Then I came so close to qualifying for the Olympic Games. It was very, very hard at the start, trying to get over it. I won the fight, won every single round. It was quite a big upset for me and it was difficult.
“But you just have to put it aside, things like that happen in boxing. It makes me more hungry, makes me want to try harder to make sure I do qualify. It happens, what can you do?
“I knew there were two qualifiers left, so I never doubted myself. I still have great faith that I will qualify.”
The 22-year-old will be ready for whatever comes at him this year.
He added: “When I go to those championships I get myself in tip-top condition and make sure I’m ready for whatever comes at me. There’s no excuses, and there’ll be no excuses.
“2015 was a special year, but 2016 will be even more special.”
O’Reilly is currently in training camp with the Irish Elite team, the Ulster Elite team and High Performance squad and a Russian squad at the University of Ulster.