Ballymena boxer keeps Olympic dream alive

Steven Donnelly (right) keeps his Olympic dream alive
Steven Donnelly (right) keeps his Olympic dream alive

Ballymena welterweight Steven Donnelly has kept alive his ambitions of securing a place at next year's Rio Olympics through the World Boxing Series.

Donnelly was on the right side of a split 2-1 decision over Alberto Ignacio Palmetta in San Francisco del Monte in central Argentina on Saturday night in the WSB series.

The win which earned the Ballymena welterweight four ranking points keeps him in third place on 19 points in the race for the two Olympic qualifying spots available.

 Russian Radzhab Butaev beat Cuban Olympic champion Roniel Iglesias-Sotolongo in Moscow on Friday night to go to the top of the ranking list on 25 points.

 Moroccan Mohammed Rabbii is in second place on 24 points. But he suffered a deep cut during his most recent win in London on Thursday which leaves him doubtful for his last bout.

Donnelly still has two fights to come in the series. Realistically he needs to win both by unanimous verdict and hope that either Butaev or Rabbii falter.

Meanwhile, Ireland's Elite welterweight title holders Adam Nolan, who also has aspirations to competing in Rio made a winning debut for the Italia Thunder team in San Juan, Porto Rica when he edged out Nicklaus Flaz on a majority 2:1 decision.

Meanwhile, Donegal’s Jason Quigley will have the sixth fight of his professional career in California on April 30.

He chalked up his fifth successive success since turning professional when he stopped veteran Texan Tolutomi Agunbiade in the second round of their middleweight contest in Indio, California in the early hours of Saturday morning.

This was Quigley’s second fight in two weeks. The last bout was all over after 90 seconds; this contest lasted slightly longer. But with 35 year old Agunbiade taking a lot of punishing the referee intervened after one minute and forty seconds of the second round to end the fight.

The contest was part of the LA Fight Club series being promoted by Golden Boy Promotion, the Oscar de la Hoya back company that is spearheading Quigley’s professional career.

On the same bill, Dublin lightweight Jamie Kavanagh made a sensational return to the ring after a nine month absence.

The referee stepped in and stopped his fight against 23 year Mexican Miguel Zamudio. The latter had a decent record winning 32 of his 39 professional fights. His form had slipped in though in recent months as he lost three of his previous six bouts.

He proved no match for 24 year Kavanagh who has now won 18 of his 20 professional fights, he lost once and one fight ended in draw.