Belfast’s Paddy Barnes books a light-flyweight ticket for the 2012 Olympic Games in London…….
Paddy Barnes qualified for his second Olympics following a comfortable 17-9 quarter-final victory over Stefan Caslarov of Romania at the AIBA European Olympic qualifiers in Trabzon, Turkey today.
The Belfast light-flyweight, a bronze medal winner at the 2008 Olympics and the 2010 European champion, never looked back from opening up a 5-3 lead in the first round of this contest.
Barnes extended that advantage to 12-6 going into the third and added another five points to his total to make the 49kg semi-final which is enough to qualify for London 2012.
“I was always confident that I would reach the Olympic Games. There was never any doubt in my mind that I would get there; it was just a matter of getting the job done, ” said an up-beat Barnes after his victory.
Adam Nolan also claimed victory today, but David Oliver Joyce, despite a brave performance, lost out in his quest to book a ticket for the 30th Olympiad following a 19-10 reversal to Lithuanian lightweight Evaldas Petrauskas.
Nolan, a Gardai. advanced to the 69kg semi-final courtesy of a 17-13 decision over Azeri welterweight Tamerlan Abdullayev.
Nolan was 6-3 ahead after the first, but Abdullayev reduced the deficit to 11-12 by the end of the second.
However, the Irish Elite champion put his foot on the gas to take the last frame and is now just one win – there are just two Olympic places available in the welterweight class – away from joining Barnes, Darren O’Neill,John Joe Nevin and Michael Conlan at London 2012.
O’Neill, Nevin and Conlan qualified for the 2012 Olympics at the 2011 AIBA World Championships in Baku.
“I knew coming back after the second that I hadn’t a good run. Billy (Irish head coach) told me I was only one up. So, I had to kick on. It was either do or die,” said Nolan.
Nolan will now meet Romania’s Ionut Gheorghe, who beat John Joe Joyce at the 2008 Olympic qualifiers in Pescara, Italy in 2008, for a place at the 2012 Olympics on Friday.
Belfast’s Tommy McCarthy recorded Ireland’s third win of the day over Josepf Darmos, who received a public warning for slapping in the second round, in the heavyweight class.
There is just one Olympic quota place left in the heavyweight category for Europe. McCarthy must win gold to qualify for London 2012.
“As the opponents get better my performances get better. It was a tough fight but I won by a good margin. Every fight for me is make or break for the Olympics,” said McCarthy.
Barnes, meantime, will go into Friday’s semi-final with Turkey’s Ferhat Pehlivan having won at least a bronze medal in Trabzon – Nolan and McCarthy are also guaranteed at least bronze.
Thursday’s is a rest day at the Trabzon tournament, which is the last qualifier for European male boxers for the London Olympics.
AIBA European Olympic Qualifiers Trabzon, Turkey
April 15th (Evening) (last 32)
60kg: David Oliver Joyce (Ireland) beat Joe Cordina (Wales) RET3
81kg: Joe Ward (Ireland) beat Kennedy Katende (Sweden) 16-6
April 16th (Afternoon) (last 16)
64kg: Ross Hickey (Ireland) lost to Dimitri Galagot (Moldova) 11-24
69kg: Adam Nolan (Ireland) beat Thomasz Kot (Poland) 14-9
April 16th (Evening) (last 16)
81kg: Joe Ward (Ireland) lost to Bahran Muzaffer (Turkey) 15-18 (result was the subject of a protest by IABA)
91kg: Tommy McCarthy (Ireland) beat Copla Alem (Bosnia & Herzegovina) 12-3
91+kg: Con Sheehan (Ireland) lost to Muhammet Erkan Aci (Turkey) 12-17
April 18th (Afternoon) Quarter-finals
49kg: Paddy Barnes (Ireland) beat Stefan Caslarov (Romania) 17-9
60kg: David Oliver Joyce (Ireland) lost to Evaldas Petrauskas (Lithuania)10-19
69kg: Adam Nolan (Ireland) beat Tamerlan Abdullayev (Azerbaijan) 17-13
91kg: Tommy McCarthy (Ireland) beat Josepf Darmos (Hungary) 16-7
April 20th (Semi-finals)
49kg: Paddy Barnes (Ireland) v Ferhat Pehlivan (Turkey)
69kg: Adam Nolan (Ireland) v Ionut Gheorghe (Romania)
91kg: Tommy McCarthy (Ireland) v Vladimir Cheles (Moldova)
49kg: Paddy Barnes (Holy Family GG)
60kg; David Oliver Joyce (St Michael’s Athy)
64kg: Ross Hickey (Grangecon)
69kg: Adam Nolan (Bray)
81kg: Joe Ward (Moate)
91kg: Tommy McCarthy (Oliver Plunkett)
91+kg: Con Sheehan (Clonmel)