A team of seven boxers will represent Ireland at the Tokyo Olympics consisting of three female and four male fighters.

The team won medals at the 2008 and 2012 Games in Beijing and London respectively, however, controversy and dubious decisions at Rio 2016 resulted in Ireland leaving empty-handed.

SCHEDULE FOR IRISH BOXERS

But there is real optimism within the camp ahead of the 2020 edition, and the 12-month delay looks to have perhaps helped rather than hindered the Irish challenge.

Team Ireland's boxing performance director, Bernard Dunne, spoke to RTE Sport ahead of the squad departing for Japan, and the former world champion outlined the qualities that each of the boxers possesses ahead of the Games.

Kellie Harrington (Lightweight - 60kg)

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"[World champion] Kellie has a reputation now globally in amateur boxing. She is top seed going into the Games, has vast experience and can deal with the expectation and deal with the pressure.

"It's always about performance, and doing what Kellie is good at doing and focus on ourselves. Having an awareness on the opponent, but we want to dictate and influence what happens inside the ring."

Michaela Walsh (Featherweight - 57kg)

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"Michaela is a fantastic athlete, as driven as they come. She has really good boxing ability, fast hands, but can dig in and fight when she needs to.

"It's a great opportunity for herself to get some success."

Aoife O’Rourke (Middleweight - 75kg)

"A Roscommon athlete, and you would never guess what Aoife is like when she gets inside a boxing ring. She’s such a lovely person, a lovely individual, but once she steps inside that ring, it’s like she flicks a switch and off she goes.

"She mows people down, she really does. She’s a European gold medallist and now she’s an Olympian. She’s 23 years of age, she has so much ahead of her. She is a fantastic athlete."

Brendan Irvine (Flyweight - 52kg)

"Brendan is probably one of the most resilient athletes I know. Since the Commonwealth Games in 2018, he has just had injury after injury, and set-back after set-back.

"And in his first major competition back since those Games, he goes and qualifies for the Olympics.

"So for him to persevere and stick to the plan, and believe in what he was being told, 'that we were going to make sure he got there’, he was helped all along by the coaching and support staff and he took his opportunity.

"He’s a double Olympian and that is something that everyone should be proud of, and now he just has to stay focused on what he is trying to achieve at the Games, and become a medallist."

Kurt Walker (Featherweight - 57kg)

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"Another European gold medallist. Nobody will want to box him. He is very evasive, has very fast hands, can mix it up, and he will be very focused coming in here.

"He has done a lot of work over the past 12 months and got in as the top seed who hadn’t qualified.

"Kurt has been one of our top athletes across the board, so to have somebody of his calibre primed and ready to go to the Olympic Games is fantastic.

Aidan Walsh (Welterweight - 69kg)

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"The other side of the Walsh family. Great to have a brother and sister going to the Games.

"Aidan is world class. He has great reflexes, great speed, he is a thoroughbred athlete and probably the fittest athlete in the squad.

"If he stays focused on himself and focuses on his game-plan, Aidan can beat anybody.

"He had a very close fight recently with Team GB’s Pat McCormack, who is the top guy in the world, and Aidan is right on par with him.

"There is no-one that Aidan is going to fear going into these Games, and anybody who comes up against him is going to have a huge challenge."

Emmet Brennan (Light-heavyweight - 81kg)

"Emmet qualifying for the Games was a huge boost for the whole squad. Like Brendan, Emmet has had set-back after set-back over the last number of months.

"And in the last six months, leading up to qualification tournament, Emmet had been in the ring two times. So he had two spars in six months going into the qualifier, but we were able to nurse him along and get him through.

"The mental strength, resilience and sheer will to get himself to the Olympic Games...

"Emmet typifies everything that is good about this squad. He has a pleasant manner, is lovely to work with and is diligent in all that he does.

"He has loads of heart. And I think that is what this team has, it has an abundance of heart."

The Coaching Team

"With the coaching team that we have, and it's a world class coaching team, Zaur Antia, John Conlan, and Dmitry Dmitruk, three coaches who have helped this squad achieve what they have achieved."

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