The Irish Athletic Boxing Association have confirmed a four-strong squad for the penultimate Rio 2016 qualifiers in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Dean Walsh, Michael O’Reilly, Darren O’Neill and Dean Gardiner, all current Irish Elite champions, will line out at light-welterweight, middleweight, heavyweight and super-heavyweight respectively at the qualifiers which begin on Thursday 16 June in Baku.
The quartet are currently in training camp in Baku with Ireland’s six male Rio 2016 Olympians – Paddy Barnes, Brendan Irvine, Michael Conlan, David Oliver Joyce, Steven Donnelly and Joe Ward – and Ray Moylette and Connor Wallace.
Moylette and Wallace were under consideration for the light-welterweight and middleweight Irish vests for the Azerbaijan qualifiers. Both men have been training and sparring with Walsh and O’Reilly in the Azeri capital since last weekend.
However, Team Ireland head coach Zuar Antia has recommended that Walsh and O’Reilly, who claimed European Games gold in Baku last year, join O’Neill and Gardiner on the Irish team for the qualifiers which yield 39 Olympics places.
The top five light-welterweights and middleweight in Baku will book tickets for Rio 2016.
Heavyweights and super-heavyweights have no margin for error and must win gold as there is only one Olympic berth available in each weight.
The final qualifier for the 2016 Olympic Games will be held in Vargas, Venezuela next month.