Conlan and Barnes qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympics following a tense and dramatic night for Irish boxing in the World Series of Boxing (WSB) in Maiquetía, Venezuela in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Barnes beat Finol Rivas on a split decision (49-45,49-45, 47-48) in the light-fly class in to book his ticket for the 31st Olympiad and Conlan beat Jose Diaz 49-46 across the board on a unanimous verdict.
Barnes booked his ticket for the 31st Olympiad after the Argentinian and Danish judges marked it 49-45, 49-45 in his favour. The English judge opted for Rivas (48-47) Click here for results.
Barnes and Conlan were lining out for Italia Thunder, who lost the five-bout match 3-2 versus Venezuela.
Any type of victory would have sufficed for Barnes – the top ranked WSB light-fly qualifies for Rio 2016 – from his last outing of the season against Rivas, and the Belfast orthodox once again delivered to record his 7th straight win of the season for Thunder.
Conlan needed to win in his last fight of the WSB regular season AND hope that Azeri bantam Magomed Gurbanov lost away to Puerto Rico’s Hector Garcia. Gurbanov was the favourite going into the clash, but Garcia dropped the Azeri in the fifth en route to a unanimous decision.
The results mean that Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin and Conlan have finished in the top two places in the 56kg class and qualify for Rio 2016.
Billy Walsh and John Conlan, father to Michael Conlan, were working the Irish corner in Maiquetia.
“We’re absolutely delighted. Paddy and Michael have been magnificent this season, as have all our boxers in the WSB, and we’re delighted to have qualified two for the Olympics Games,” said Billy Walsh.
Irish boxing won seven of our eight medals in all sports from the last two Olympics.
Belfast duo Barnes, a bronze medallist at Beijing 2008 and London 2012, and Conlan, a bronze medallist at London 2012, have won three of that total.
Irish 2012 Olympian Adam Nolan signed with Italia Thunder in mid-season and will be in action for the Azzurri next weekend. Nolan has recorded one victory for Thunder this term from one outing.