Great start for Irish boxers at Olympic qualifying tournament
Cork middleweight Christine Desmond secured the biggest win of her career today at the Olympic qualifying tournament in Turkey when she defeated 2014 European champion Nouchka Fontijn from the Netherland.
The Dutch fighter was the number one seed in the 75kg weight division but Desmond produced the performance of her life to reach the last eight.
Team colleague Ceire Smith from Cavan also advanced to the last eight in the flyweight category with a win over Barankai Virginia from Hungary.
Later today Olympic champion Katie Taylor meets Czech lightweight Martina Schmoranzova. The Irish camp will also be keeping an eye on the clash between Azeri lightweight Yana Alekseevna and Turkish veteran and multi medallist Gulsum Tatar, who was once Taylor’s nemesis after beating her on three occasions between 2005 and 2007.
Taylor subsequently avenged those losses and it is Ukrainian born Alekseevna who has emerged as Taylor’s biggest rival in the last two years. They clashed in the semi-final of the European Games in Baku last summer with Taylor winning on a majority decision after all three judges scored the contest 38-38.
The odds favour Taylor and Alekseevna meeting in next Friday’s semi-final. Only the winner is guaranteed a place in Rio, though the loser will have another chance to qualify at the World championships in Kazakhstan to May.
Desmond and Smith also have to reach the finals in their respective weight divisions to secure a place in Rio at this tournament.