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Olympic delight is perfect tonic after injury woe, admits Irvine

 

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Belfast boxer Brendan Irvine has shone a light into the injury nightmare that has made his qualification for the Olympic Games all the sweeter. (stock photo)

Belfast boxer Brendan Irvine has shone a light into the injury nightmare that has made his qualification for the Olympic Games all the sweeter. (stock photo)

Belfast boxer Brendan Irvine has shone a light into the injury nightmare that has made his qualification for the Olympic Games all the sweeter. (stock photo)

Belfast boxer Brendan Irvine has shone a light into the injury nightmare that has made his qualification for the Olympic Games all the sweeter.

The 23-year-old sealed his spot at the Tokyo Olympics by outboxing Hungarian Istavan Szaka over three rounds at London's CopperBox Arena on Monday.

The qualifying tournament was cancelled just hours later due to the coronavirus but Irvine was glad to have done enough to ensure he will add to his memories from the 2016 Games.

"It's such a relief," he said. "It gives me more time to prepare physically and mentally. I can go back to the drawing board and work on things I didn't get to show here.

"With time, everything will click together nicely."

Since his 2016 Olympic debut, Irvine has picked up a silver medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and a bronze at the previous year's Europeans.

However, he was denied the chance to bag another medal at either the 2019 European or World Championships after a freak foot injury during sparring added to earlier injury woes.

"I didn't even think I was going to get the chance to come to the Olympic qualifiers so to qualify first time round is unbelievable," he smiled.

"There have been a lot of ups and downs. In training for the Commonwealth Games, I tore a ligament in my hand and then I fractured my foot last year before the European games.

"I was training in a (protective) boot thinking I was going to the World Championships. Nobody understands except for a few people close to me."

Belfast Telegraph