Ray Moylette bowed out of the final Olympic qualifier to Hovhannes Backov after three tight rounds in Vargas, Venezuela tonight.
The Armenian took all frames of the quarter-final 10-9 on all cards to score a 30-27 decision.
Moylette found the target with big rights at the start of the first and on the bell for the end of the round, but Backov, who lost out in a box-off for Rio in Turkey earlier this year, was working fluently from head to body throughout the frame.
The action moved up close and very personnel in the second with both men detonated solid uppercuts, Backov stepping back to fire in body shots, Moylette returning the compliment with head shots.
The St Anne’s BC (Mayo) man need a massive third to overturn the 20-18 deficit, but with the action more or less replicating the second, albeit at a slower pace, the durable Armenian earned another 10-9 stanza to seal a close but deserved win.
Moylette, as always, gave it everything, but hopes of a Venezuelan hat-trick – Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan (Conlan qualified again at the World Championships) qualified for Rio in the Latin American country through the World Series of Boxing – wasn’t to be.
“It was always going to be tough, the Armenian had built a good foundation of activity throughout the qualifiers and over the Olympic cycle.This was the difference. It was an opportunity and Ray gave it his best,” said Irish coach Eddie Bolger.
The top three light-welters in Vargas book Rio tickets.
Tonight’s last-eight reversal brings the curtain down on gruelling qualification process for Irish boxing
Team Ireland travelled well over 50,000 air miles into three Continents over the last two years to secure eight tickets for the 31st Olympiad.
Katie Taylor, Paddy Barnes, Brendan Irvine, Michael Conlan, David Oliver Joyce, Steven Donnelly, Michael O’Reilly and Joe Ward have qualified and will represent Irish boxing in Rio next month.
Thirteen boxers – 10 men and 3 women – is the maximum any nation can qualify.
Bolger and Martin Brennan, Moylette’s club coach, were working Ireland’s corner this evening.
The Irish team are due to arrive home Saturday.
Olympic Qualifiers, Vargas, Venezuela
64k Ray Moylette (Ireland) lost to Hovhannes Backov (Armenia) 0-3
64kg Ray Moylette (St Anne’s)
Coaches: Eddie Bolger and Martin Brennan