Sport

Boxing gold for Nolan

SportBy Sean McGoldrick
Adam Nolan won a gold medal today as he sets his sights on Rio
Adam Nolan won a gold medal today as he sets his sights on Rio

Ireland's Adam Nolan has won a gold medal at the prestigious Gee Bee boxing tournament in Helsinki.

The London Olympian, who regained his Elite Irish welterweight crown last month,  fashioned a unanimous 3-0 points win over England's Chris Mbwakongo in the final.

The Bray based Garda still faces a battle to be Ireland's representative in the 69kg division at the Rio Olympics.

Ballymena's Steven Donnelly remains in pole position to qualify from the World Boxing series where he is currently unbeaten.

There was no final day joy, however, for Ireland's two other representative in action in Helsinki.

Light flyweight Myles Casey from Limerick lost on a split 2:1 decision to Makhetov Azat from Kazakhstan while middleweight Conor Coyle went down to a unanimous 3-0 decision to Van de Pax Max from the Netherlands.

Meanwhile, Belfast duo Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan will know whether they are assured of places through the WSB system at the end of March.

Fresh from wins in Milan on Saturday night the pair face a long trip to  San Juan in Puerto Rica for the penultimate round of matches in the WSB series next weekend.

Their Italian Thunder team take on the local based franchise. Even though there is just one spot available in Barnes' light-fly division, the double Olympic bronze medallist is in pole position to claim it.

He leads his nearest rival Hasanboy Dusmatov by two points (25-23) at the top of the rankings, so two more wins will secure Barnes his place in Rio.

The final round of the series is scheduled for Milan on March 28th against the Argentina Condors teams. The biggest danger facing Barnes is that either of his next two opponents pull out of their contests.

Barnes then would only earn three ranking points as opposed to five for a unanimous win in the ring.

Meanwhile, Conlan is back in the frame to claim one of the two available spots in the bantamweight division, having ended the unbeaten run of American Francisco Martinez.

He needs two more wins and another defeat for the American to claim a spot in Rio.