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

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

Michael O’Reilly’s and Dean Gardiner’s opponents will  emerge from Day 2 of the penultimate Olympic qualifiers in Baku, Azerbaijan tomorrow.

Click here for today’s results, Friday’s program, draw sheets and schedule.

Kaho Raikadroka (Tonka), who lives in LA, USA, meets Satish Kumar (India) and Abdreas Kokknos (Cyprus) faces Vitalia Dandarenka (Belarus) in the super-heavy and middle prelims tomorrow. The winners meet Gardiner in the last 16 and O’Reilly in the last 32.

Dean Walsh, Gardiner, O’Reilly, who won European Games gold in Baku last year, and Darren O’Neill carry Ireland’s hopes in Azerbaijan.

O’Reilly is the No. 1 seed in the middleweight class, while Gardiner received a bye into the last 16 at super-heavy.

Kilkenny heavyweight O’Neill will be the first Irish boxer in action Saturday. Wexford light-welter Walsh received a bye into the last 32.

“I’m the first of the Irish in. Here we go again,” said the London 2012 Olympian.

The top five light-welters and middleweights qualify for Rio, but heavyweights and super-heavyweights must win gold as there is just one Rio 2016 place available in both categories.

39 Olympic places are up for grabs across the ten weights in Baku.

The tournament is being held at 2,200 capacity  Sarhadchi Arena in the Azeri capital.

Rio Olympian Joe Ward won middleweight gold for Ireland at the World Youth Championships at the venue in 2010 and Ryan Burnett claimed silver. Click here for draws.



Irish draw Baku Olympic qualifiers

June 18th

(Last 32)

91kg Darren O’Neill (Ireland) v Mustafa El Molla (Sweden)

June 19th

(Last 32)

64kg Dean Walsh (Ireland) v Smetov Ismetov (Bulgaria)

(Last 16)

91kg+ Dean Gardiner v Kaho Raikadroka (Tonka) or Satish Kumar (India)

June 20th

(Last 32)

75kg Michael O’Reilly (Ireland) v Abdreas Kokknos (Cyprus) or Vitalia Dandarenka (Belarus)


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