Rio 2016 Olympians

2016 Rio Olympians

The individual routes that the Irish boxing squad must take at the Rio Olympics will be revealed in Rio today.

The draw for the 2016 Olympics will be made this afternoon at 3pm (Irish time) at the Teatro Berdasco,Village Mall, Barra in the host city for the 31st Olympiad.

“It’s a waiting camp from here on in. The boys are working away and a very much looking forward to the draw, said team manager Joe Hennigan.

“The draw will tell its own story and we’ll know if any of the team will be in action on Saturday and the seeding.”

The light-flyweight, lightweight, light-heavyweights and heavyweights get the male boxing program underway at the Pavilion 6 venue on Saturday. Female boxing begins on August 12.

The five champion’s from London 2012 at Rio 2016 are Ireland’s Katie Taylor, Nicola Adams of Great Britain, Claressa Shields of the USA and Cuban pair Robeisy Ramirez and Roniel Iglesias.

The eight-strong Irish squad at Rio 2016  have claimed almost 40 Olympic, World, European, European Games and EU Elite gold, silver and bronze medals between them. Paddy Barnes, who will lead out Team Ireland at Friday’s Opening Ceremony, won the World Series of Boxing light-fly title last year.

World Elite silver medallist Joe Ward has the distinction of being the only Irish boxer to represent his country at the Youth Olympics (Singapore 2010)  and Olympics.

286 athletes – 250 males and 36 females – got into the hat for today’s draw.

272 boxers at the Games qualified through competition. Brazil accepted six places as the host nation and eight berths – five for men and three for women – were awarded through the Tripartite Commission invitation process.



Irish boxers qualified

60kg (Lightweight) – Katie Taylor (Bray)

49kg (Light-flyweight) – Paddy Barnes (Holy Family)
52kg (Flyweight) – Brendan Irvine (St Paul’s)
56kg (Bantamweight) – Michael Conlan (Clonard)
60kg (Lightweight) – David Oliver Joyce (St Michael’s Athy & AIBA Pro Boxing)
69kg (Welterweight) – Steven Donnelly (All Saints)
75kg (Middleweight) – Michael O’Reilly (Portlaoise)
81kg (Light-heavyweight) – Joe Ward (Moate & AIBA Pro Boxing)

Team Manager: Joe Hennigan
Coaches: Zaur Antia, Eddie Bolger, John Conlan
Physio: Julianne Ryan



David Oliver Joyce after the win that qualified him for Rio

David Oliver Joyce after the win that qualified him for Rio

How Ireland’s boxers qualified for Rio 2016

April,2015 – Michael Conlan and Paddy Barnes earned quota places for Rio following a tense and dramatic night in the World Series of Boxing (WSB) in Maiquetía, Venezuela. Barnes, who received a hot reception from the home fans, beat Finol Rivas on a split decision (49-45,49-45, 47-48) in the light-fly class in to book his ticket and Conlan beat Jose Diaz 49-46 across the board on a unanimous verdict. Barnes and Conlan were lining out for Italia Thunder. Any type of victory would have sufficed for Barnes from his last outing of the season against Rivas, and the Belfast orthodox once again delivered to record his 7th straight win for Thunder.Conlan needed to win his last fight of the WSB regular term and hope that Azeri bantam Magomed Gurbanov lost away to Puerto Rico’s Hector Garcia. Gurbanov was the favourite going into the clash, but Garcia dropped the Azeri in the fifth en route to a unanimous decision. The results saw Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin and Conlan finish in the top two places in the 56kg class and qualify.

October, 2015 – Michael Conlan beat Dzimitry Asanau of Belarus in the semi-finals of the World Elite Championships in Doha, Qatar on a unanimous decision to book Olympic qualification for a second time by virtue of finishing in the top three in the bantam class. Conlan, already qualified for Rio through the WSB, achieved the standard again in the Persian Gulf. The International Boxing Association informed National Federations in Doha that in the event of boxers reaching the qualification standard twice that the World place prevails. “It’s an ideal dilemma to have,” observed Conlan’s dad and Irish coach John Conlan. Conlan also went on to win gold to become the first Irish male boxer to secure an AIBA World Elite crown.The Irish captain won the first and third rounds of his 56kg semi-final 10-9 across the board to take a 30-27, 29-28,29-28 decision. Asanau split the judges in his favour in the second round, but Conlan was back on his toes and dominating – he found the target with six unanswered shots in the first 30 seconds of the final frame – to secure victory.

October, 2015 – Joe Ward qualified for Rio 2016 after beating Uzbek light-heavy in the AIBA World Elite 81kg semi-final in Doha, Qatar. The Irish southpaw earned a unanimous decision. The top two light-heavyweights on the Arabian Peninsula qualified and Ward also guaranteed himself at least silver. “It’s a massive win after the ups and downs I’ve had in my career, missing out on London [2012 Olympic Games]. Then I tried to go the APB route, I did okay at that but got pipped at the post a few times,” said Ward immediately after his win. “A lot of people wrote me off in a way, but I knew myself I’d stick with it. Eddie Bolger [coach] stuck with me, my family at home, my kids and my girlfriend motivated me to keep going and I got what I wanted. That’s my dream, to go to the Olympic Games and I’ve got a World silver medal.”

December, 2015 – The Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) were delighted to confirm that Steven Donnelly had achieved a quota place for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Pat Ryan and Fergal Carruth, President and CEO of the IABA, confirmed that they had been notified by the Olympic Council of Ireland that Donnelly had earned a quota place for the 31st Olympiad. Pat Ryan said: “We are absolutely delighted for Steven and for his club. Steven performed magnificently last season and he won his place on merit. Congratulations to him and all involved.” Fergal Carruth said: “We have received confirmation that Steven has been offered a quota place for the Olympic Games in Rio. This is fantastic news for our sport and congratulations to Steven and his club.” Donnelly, an ex Irish Elite champion, qualified through the World Series of Boxing (WSB). The All Saints BC (Ballymena) welterweight won five of his six outings for the Hussars of Poland in the WSB and finished in the top two in the 69kg WSB class after a number of convoluted scenarios involving results elsewhere fell his way. However, the bottom line was that Donnelly won five WSB fights and fully deserved his seat on the plane to the 2016 Olympic Games.

April, 2016 – Brendan Irvine came from behind to see off the challenge of Bulgaria’s Daniel Asenov to secure an Olympic ticket in Samsun, Turkey. Both men – who were born on the same day a year apart, Irvine on May 17th, 1996 and Asenov on May 17th, 1997 – met in a third place box-off, with the winner guaranteed a ticket to Rio 2016. Irvine, the No. 1 seed in the flyweight class in Samsun, had to pull out all the stops to subdue his fiery opponent, who, to his credit, set a pace and never relented. Two of the judges split for Asenov at the end of a first frame which saw the Bulgarian land three big overhand rights. Irvine found his range at mid-way and hit the target with the punch of the bout, a sweet uppercut bang on the button.

April, 2016 – David Oliver Joyce qualified for Rio 2016 following an edge-of-the-seat box-off thriller with Turkey’s Volkan Gokcek on the final day of the 39-nation European Olympic qualifiers in Samsun, Turkey. The St Michael’s Athy BC man, one of the great servants of the sport in Ireland, beat the Turkish lightweight on a split decision to realise what he described as his dream of becoming an Olympian. Joyce, who just doesn’t do boring victories, took the first round, but Gokcek claimed the second before Ireland’s three-time EU champion pulled out all the stops – and the proverbial kitchen sink – to nail the third frame and join his Irish team mates Brendan Irvine, who also qualified in Samsun, on the plane to the 31st Olympiad. The devastated expression of Joyce’s gallant opponent told its own story on a night when Ireland’s three-time EU champion poignantly dedicated his victory to his late grandmother who, he said, always believed in him and always encouraged him to never give up.

May, 2016 – Katie Taylor qualified for her second successive Olympics at the AIBA World Women’s Elite Championships in Astana, Kazakhstan.Taylor beat Mexico’s Victoria Torres in a fiery 60kg quarter-final to book her ticket into her sixth successive World Elite semi-final since New Delhi 2006. The top four lightweights in Doha qualify. The Bray woman, aiming for her sixth successive World title, lost out in the semi-final stage  on a split decision to France’s Estelle Mossely. However, the Rio ticket was secured and the London 2012 champion was on her way to her second Olympics.

June, 2016 – Michael O’Reilly added the words Irish Olympian to his CV after earning a unanimous decision (29-28,29-28,29-28) over Azerbaijan’s Shinebayor Narmandakh in the quarter-finals of the World Olympic qualifiers in Baku, Azerbaijan. The top five middleweights in Baku qualify for the 31st Olympiad and the Irish European Games champion and World Elite bronze medallist went on to win gold in the Azeri capital. O’Reilly, the No. 1 seed in Baku, said he was absolutely thrilled with his victory, and Irish coach Eddie Bolger, who was working O’Reilly’s corner with Ireland chief seconds Zaur Antia, hailed his discipline. He said: “It was a tense affair as you can imagine and it would have been easy for Michael to break discipline, but he was cool and stuck to the game plan in each round.”