Brendan Irvine still has work to do if he wants to make Olympic Games

Brendan Irvine's Olympic dream is not over '“ but there is still work to be done from the Belfast fighter.

Brendan Irvine
Brendan Irvine

Irvine lost to Armenia’s Narek Abgaryan on Friday at the European Olympic qualifiers in Turkey after putting on an encouraging display.

Irvine will now face Bulgaria’s Daniel Asenov on Saturday in the flyweight box-off for Rio – so he knows a good performance could see him on the way to the Games in the summer.

Asenov – who will be no pushover for Irvine – was beaten on Friday by the British flyweight with the iconic boxing name, Muhammad Ali.

There was also disappointment for Ireland’s Katie Taylor and David Oliver Joyce in Turkey.

Taylor suffered her first defeat in five years to Azerbaijan’s Yana Alexseevna, and will now meet Svetlana Staneva from Bulgaria a box-off for third place on Sunday.

But the Olympic champion – who sportingly congratulated Alexseevna after her win – cannot qualify directly for Rio in Turkey – as only the top two finalists go through.

Taylor and Irish women’s boxing will get a final opportunity to qualify at next month’s World Women’s Championships in Kazakhstan. A top four finish will suffice – but Taylor will be disappointed not to have got the job done in Turkey.

Meanwhile, Joyce lost to current European Elite champion Joe Cordina.

Despite Joyce nearly stopping the Welsh lightweight in the second round, two of the judges bizarrely scored the frame against the St Michael’s Athy BC man.

Irish team manager Joe Hennigan expressed his concern about some of the scoring going against Irish boxers in Samsun, not only in the Joyce fight but throughout the tournament, and said that Joyce won the second round of Friday’s clash “hands down”.

Joyce now meets Turkey’s Volkan Gokcek in Sunday’s lightweight clash for a place at the 2016 Olympic Games.

In professional boxing Paddy Gallagher has been handed the opportunity of a lifetime when he takes on Tony Dixon for the vacant BBBofC Celtic welterweight championship in Cardiff on May 14.

And 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Paddy Gallagher knows that this is a real chance to get his hands on his first title.

Conrad Cummings will also fight on the bill as he takes on Frankie Borg in what should be a good fight for the middleweight.