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Olympic dream so close for Belfast boxer Brendan Irvine

By David Kelly

Belfast man Brendan Irvine has two shots at making the Olympic Games but would love to nail down his place today at the European qualifiers in Turkey.

The slick moving flyweight, a member of the St Paul's club, has been in fine form this week, enjoying two impressive wins to make it into today's semi-finals.

Victory over Armenia's Narek Abgaryan would be enough to see him join fellow Antrim men Paddy Barnes, Michael Conlan and Steven Donnelly in Rio, but even if he loses there is a box-off for third which would offer a further opportunity.

Irvine can expect a very tough encounter with Abgaryan, according to St Paul's coach Ralph McKay, whose club is thriving at the moment.

"I've watched the guy from Armenia and he's a very good boxer. Brendy is going to have to have his timing spot on right from the start, that's for sure," said McKay.

"I know he can do it but it's going to be tight and although he would have another chance to make it to the Olympics it would be nice to get the job done."

The other flyweight semi-final features Great Britain's Muhammad Ali against Bulgarian Daniel Asenov.

Experienced Irish lightweight David Oliver Joyce also bids to book his spot for the Games when he meets Joe Cordina of Great Britain, while Katie Taylor should stroll into the Games today when she faces Yana Alexseevna of Azerbaijan.

Belfast Telegraph


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