BOXING: Brendan Irvine secures his place at summer Olympics

Brendan Irvine in action against Daniel Asenov of Bulgaria
Brendan Irvine in action against Daniel Asenov of Bulgaria

Belfast boxer Brendan Irvine booked his place at this year’s Olympic Games thanks to a box-off victory in Turkey on Saturday.

The 19-year-old flyweight had lost his qualifying semi-final on Friday, but with three fighters going through to Rio he had another chance the next day.

Brendan Irvine celebrates his win

Brendan Irvine celebrates his win

And Irvine seized the moment with a points win over Bulgarian Daniel Asenov.

Asenov was in confident mood in the first round but Irvine won the second round.

There was split decision in the final round and Irvine won the contest on points.

It will be a first Olympic appearance for Irvine, who was a silver medallist at last year’s inaugural European Games.

Meanwhile, Irish fighter David Oliver Joyce won his box-off to earn a Rio spot, while 2012 gold medallist Katie Taylor finished third in Turkey.

Irish lightweight Joyce defeated Turkey’s Volkan Gokcek on a split decision.

Taylor bounced back from her shock semi-final loss by beating Bulgaria’s Svetlana Staneva to secure third place.

Only the finalists qualified for Rio but Taylor can still make the Games through the World Championships.

Meanwhile, Nicola Adams rounded off another successful week by securing a split decision victory over Bulgarian opponent Stanimira Petrova in the women’s flyweight final.

Adams had already booked her place in Rio in a hugely successful tournament for the British team, who saw nine fighters qualified via victories on Friday and Saturday.

Adams, Galal Yafai, Muhammad Ali, Qais Ashfaq, Joe Cordina, Josh Buatsi, Lawrence Okolie and Joe Joyce were joined by Antony Fowler, who won his bronze medal box-off on Saturday.

Great Britain performance director Rob McCracken hailed a stunning weekend for his team, which ended in a super-heavyweight gold medal win for Joe Joyce over Azerbaijan’s two-time world champion Magomedrasul Majidov.

McCracken said: “To have come away from such a difficult tournament with nine boxers qualified for Rio is a fantastic achievement.

“The boxers have acquitted themselves superb and fully deserve to be rewarded for all of their hard work and dedication by getting the chance to compete on the biggest stage of all at the Olympic Games.”