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Boxing: Irish in fight for Olympic places

By David Kelly

Published 16/10/2007

Ireland's boxers head off to Chicago today for the World Championships.

The championships will serve as a qualifier for the Beijing Olympics next summer, with all quarter-finalists from light-fly to light-heavyweight and all semi-finalists at both heavy and super-heavyweight earning automatic Olympic entry.

Gary Keegan, the director of the High Performance programme, said: "Our expectation is three qualifiers, which will be a 200 per cent increase on what we've had at the last two Olympics.

"We're going into these World Championships with what we see as a really good chance. Our three top boxers are all world ranked and highly experienced, and all have an excellent chance of making the quarter-finals.

"All three of them, Kenny Egan, Darren Sutherland and Roy Sheahan, have been there before. Kenny will be boxing in his fourth World Championships and was a quarter-finalist in two of his previous three - Darren made the last eight in China two years ago."

Ulstermen Paddy Barnes, Ryan Lindberg, John Sweeney and Cathal McMonagle are part of the 11-strong team.

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