Ballymena boxer Steven Donnelly misses Olympic spot

Steven Donnelly misses out on Olympic spot
Steven Donnelly misses out on Olympic spot

Ballymena's Steven Donnelly has won his fifth fight in the WSB series but will still miss out on Olympic qualification.

Donnelly was the only winner for the Polish based Rafako Hurrars squad as they crashed  to a 4-1 defeat against the the Milan based Italia Thunder franchise.

However, the Irishman needed to record a unanimous 3-0 win in order to keep his Olympic ambitions alive.

Instead, the 2014 Irish Elite champion claimed a split (48-47, 48-47, 47-48) victory over a durable Italian Dario Morello.

He earned  four ranking points for the win; five are awarded for an unanimous victory. His total of 23 points leaves him in third place in the rankings in the 69kg division.

However, his two main rivals Russua Razhab Butaev and Morocco's Mohammed Rabii, are joint first on 29 points, six ahead of the Irishman.

All three boxers have one bout left - Butaev and Rabii are due to meet when their respective teams clash on April 24th. However, even if Donnelly earns the maximum five points from his final bout he cannot catch either of them. There are two Olympic spots up for grabs in this category from the WSB series.

So Donnelly's Olympic dream is on hold for the moment. There will, of course, be other opportunities to qualify for the Rio Olympics in 2016.

However, Donnelly's case is complicated by the fact that London Olympian Adam Nolan reclaimed his Elite welterweight title at the national championships earlier this year and will represent Ireland in the European Games in Baku - which kicks off the next phase of the qualifying process