Michael O'Reilly (blue) in action

Michael O’Reilly (blue) in action

Darren O’Neill lost out in his bid to reach successive Olympiads at the penultimate Olympic qualifiers in Baku, Azerbaijan today.

The Kilkenny heavyweight was beaten on a unanimous decision in the last 16 of the tournament by Nigeria’s Wesley Apochi after three tight rounds.

O’Neill, who won yesterday, had to claim the gold medal in the Azeri capital to qualify for the 31st Olympiad as there is only one place available in the 91kg class.


Darren O'Neill and Irish head coach Zaur Antia in Baku

Darren O’Neill and Irish head coach Zaur Antia in Baku

Earlier today, Michael O’Reilly advanced to the last 16

The European Games middleweight champion beat Vitalia Bandarenka of Belarus on a unanimous decision to move to within two wins of qualifying for Rio.

The top five middleweights in Baku qualify for Rio.

O’Reilly and Dean Gardiner will be in action tomorrow in Baku.Gardiner must win gold as there is just one Olympic place available in the super-heavy class.

The final Olympic qualifier will be held in Vargas, Venezuela next month. Ostensibly a World Series of Boxing (WSB) versus AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) clash, the Latin American qualifiers are also open to professional boxers.

Mayo light-welter Ray Moylette, who qualified for Venezuela through APB, is the only Irish boxer eligible for Vargas.



Irish Draw Baku Olympic qualifiers

June 18th

(Last 32)

91kg Darren O’Neill (Ireland) beat Mustafa El Molla (Sweden) 3-0

June 19th

(Last 32)

64kg Dean Walsh (Ireland) lost to Smetov Ismetov (Bulgaria) 0-3

(Last 16)

91kg+ Dean Gardiner beat Satish Kumar (India) 2-1

June 20th

75kg Michael O’Reilly (Ireland) beat Vitalia Bandarenka (Belarus) 3-0 (last 32)

91kg Darren O’Neill (Ireland) lost to Wesley Apochi (Nigeria) 0-3 (last 16)

June 21st

Last 16

75kg Michael O’Reilly (Ireland) v Shinebayor Narmandakh (Mongolia)


91+kg Dean Gardiner (Ireland) v Viktor Vychryst (Ukraine)


Irish Squad

64kg (Light-welter) Dean Walsh (St Josephs/St Ibars)

75kg (Middleweight) Michael O’Reilly (Portlaoise)

91kg (Heavyweight) Darren O’Neill (Paulstown)

91kg + (Super-heavy) Dean Gardiner (Clonmel)

Team manager Joe Hennigan

Coaches: Zaur Antia and Eddie Bolger

Performance Analyst Alan Swanton

Sports Psychologist: Gerry Hussey