Olympic bronze medallist Conlon named in Irish squad for European championship

BoxingBy Sean McGoldrick
Michael Conlan (left) and Paddy Barnes (right) in Warsaw
Michael Conlan (left) and Paddy Barnes (right) in Warsaw

Olympic bronze medallist Michael Conlan has been named on the Irish boxing squad for next month’s European championships in Sofia, Bulgaria next month.

Now ranked as the world number two in the bantamweight division, he has already secured a place at next year’s Rio Olympics through the World Boxing series. The Belfast boxer secured a silver medal at the 2013 Euro championships.

Double Olympic bronze medallist Paddy Barnes won’t be in action in Sofia. He underwent hand surgery following his exploits in the WBS series in which he also secured qualification for the Rio Olympics.

Joe Ward, who failed to secure Olympic qualification through the new AIBA Pro boxing series, will box in Sofia. He’s a previous gold medallist in the tournament.

For the first time ever the European championships will act as a qualifier for World championship scheduled for Doha in October which is a qualifier for Rio 2016.

The top six boxers (the semi-finalists and the quarter-finalist that lose to the eventual finalists) in each of the ten weight classes in the Bulgarian capital will qualify for Doha.

Michael O’Reilly, Brendan Irvine and Sean McComb have already secured tickets for Doha after winning gold, silver and bronze at the European Games so they won’t be travelling to Sofia.

The Irish squad travel to Sheffield on Sunday for a training camp at the English Institute of Sport.

The full squad is Myles Casey (52kg), Michael Conlan (56kg), Dean Walsh (64kg), Adam Nolan (69kg), Joe Ward (81kg), Darren O’Neill (91kg), Dean Gardiner (91kg+)