Belfast's Michael Conlan clinches place in Olympics
Belfast flyweight Michael Conlan has clinched his place at the 2012 Olympics by reaching the quarter-finals of the World Amateur Championships.
The 19-year-old beat number two seed Nordine Oubaali of France 20-17 in Tuesday's last 16 contest in Baku.
Conlan lost the first round 6-4 but was level at 11-11 after the second and finished well to take the third 9-6.
He faces European champion Andrew Selby for a medal on Wednesday.
"It was a good fight - he was a tough guy," said Conlan of the St John Bosco club in west Belfast.
"He was very fit and just kept coming. But I was just as fit and my workrate was really high. I just kept pushing."
Two other Irish boxers, middleweight Darren O'Neill and Cavan bantamweight John Joe Nevin, also won through to the quarter-finals in Azerbaijan on Tuesday.
However, 17-year-old light heavyweight Joe Ward, lightweight David Oliver Joyce and welterweight Roy Sheehan failed to qualify for London.
IRISH TRIO SECURE SPOTS IN LONDON
Darren O'Neill led a trio of Irish fighters into the London 2012 Olympics today as all three reached the qualifying standard by winning their last-16 bouts in the World Championships in Baku.
The Kilkenny middleweight, a former European silver medallist, beat Bulgaria's Mladen Manev 19-12 to reach the quarter-finals and admitted securing his place at next summer's Games was "a dream come true".
O'Neill added: "This is the stuff I've been dreaming of since I was young age. My two dreams were to medal at a major competition and to qualify for the Olympics, and now I've done them both."
Cavan bantamweight John Joe Nevin reached his second Olympics after nudging past tough Mongolian Otgondalal Dorjnyambuu on countback after an 18-18 draw.
Nevin said: "I'm over the moon to reach my second Games."
Flyweight Michael Conlan pulled off another superb win, this time over French second seed Nordine Oubaaali 20-17, to qualify and reach the last eight where he will face Welshman Andrew Selby.
But there was heartache for 17-year-old light-heavyweight Joe Ward and team-mates Roy Sheehan, Con Sheehan and David Oliver Joyce, who all bowed out and will have one more chance to qualify next year.
Irish trio cement Olympic spots
Darren O'Neill, John Joe Nevin and Michael Conlon are all through to the quarter-finals of the AIBA World Boxing Championships, ensuring qualification for the 2012 Olympic Games.
O'Neill became the first Irishman through in Baku, when he repeated his defeat of Mladen Manev in a European meeting last year.
The long reach of O'Neill proved pivotal as he triumphed 19-12.
Nevin won his clash with Mongolian Dorjnyambuv Otgondalai on a countback when the score at the end of the third round was 18-18, the relief palpable as Nevin hugged Irish coach Billy Walsh at the finish.
Conlon won his bout 20-17 to cement his place in London next year, but there was disappointment for Joe Ward.
Ward was beaten by Iranian Ehsan Rouzbahani following a countback in his last 16 bout this morning.
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