Brendan Irvine triumphs in box-off to claim Olympics place

Brendan Irvine celebrates his victory
Brendan Irvine celebrates his victory

Brendan Irvine has become the fifth Irish boxer to qualify for the Rio Olympics.

After Friday's triple disappointment, Irvine bounced back to lift the spirits in the Irish camp by defeating Bulgarian Daniel Asanov in a box off to secure his spot on the plane to Brazil.

It a tension filled fight in Samsun the Bulgarian began in aggressive fashion and took the first round. The Irish champion bounced back to take the second and then closed out the fight in the third as Asanov tired.

Irvine – a member of St Paul's BC - initially made his name in the light fly category where he medalled at last year's European Games in Buku. But Paddy Barnes had already secured his Olympic spot in this weight division so Irvine moved up to the 52kg flyweight category.

His decision had now been vindicated and he brings home a bronze medal from Samsun and become the third Belfast boxer to make the Olympic team following in the footsteps of Barnes and Michael Conlan. The other Irish boxers who have qualified are Joe Ward and Steven Donnelly who also hails from Count Antrim.