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Saturday 10 December 2016

Shock result for O'Reilly

No.1 seed suffers loss but Joyce and O'Neill advance

Ireland's Michael O'Reilly reacts after being beaten by Hosam Abdin in their Men's Middleweight 75kg Box-Off bout. Picture: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE
Ireland's Michael O'Reilly reacts after being beaten by Hosam Abdin in their Men's Middleweight 75kg Box-Off bout. Picture: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

Ireland suffered a major setback at the Olympic qualifying in Samsun, Turkey yesterday with the shock elimination of middleweight Michael O'Reilly.

The Portlaoise boxer was the number one seed in the 75kg weight class but he fell to a unanimous 3-0 decision against an unknown Finnish boxer Ilari Kijala.

O'Reilly won the gold medal at the inaugural European Games in Baku last year and later claimed a bronze medal at the World Championships in Doha.

Verdict

Indeed, he was desperately unlucky not to secure an Olympic place in Qatar as he clearly beat a veteran Egyptian fighter in a box off but didn't get the verdict.

O'Reilly was still ranked as the world number 2 middleweight and the number one European going into the Samsun tournament but he failed to justify his rankings in yesterday's fight.

He will have one final chance to secure an Olympic place at a tournament in Baku in June.

But there are unhappy parallels between O'Reilly's case and that of Joe Ward who sensationally missed out on qualifying for the London Olympics.

Ward suffered a surprise defeat at the World Championships followed by a highly controversial loss at the subsequent qualifying tournament in Turkey. Even though Ward ultimately took his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport he didn't make the London Games.

Category

David Oliver Joyce, however, has advanced to the quarter-finals of the lightweight category.

Joyce, who was desperately unlucky not to make the London Games, lost the first round of his contest against Otar Eranosyan from Georgia but he won the next two to get the verdict.

He had previously beaten the Georgian in the final of the EU Championships in Sofia in 2014.

Darren O'Neill also advanced to the quarter-finals.

Kilkenny southpaw O'Neill stopped Sweden's Gabriel Richards in the first round of their heavyweight contest.

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