Next August, in the Barra da Tijuca neighbourhood of Rio de Janeiro, 286 boxers will take to the ring with Olympic glory on their minds as the Rio 2016 Olympic Boxing competition gets underway. Today, the first 60 boxers heading to Rio have been confirmed for the men’s competition, including 34 Olympic debutants.
AIBA Pro Boxing tournaments have produced 20 qualifiers, Season V of the World Series of Boxing gleaned 17 Olympians and 23 athletes have secured quota places thanks to their performances at the 2015 AIBA World Boxing Championships in Doha.
Only one American, Carlos Balderas, is in the initial batch.
“The qualification of 60 boxers is a demonstration of the hard work of the AIBA family in the development of the sport of boxing and I would like congratulate our member federations, the qualified boxers and all those involved. I would also like to praise the AIBA team and Rio 2016 Organising Committee for the hard work in delivering the Boxing Test Event in Rio. I trust that with the support of the Organising Committee AIBA will improve on the recent success of the World Championships in Doha to deliver an event greater Boxing Tournament in the upcoming Rio 2016 Olympic Games”, said AIBA President Dr Ching-Kuo Wu.
Cuba have seven boxers confirmed on the plane to Brazil, including three-time world champions Julio Cesar La Cruz and Lazaro Alvarez. In all, the Americas have 12 boxers on route to Rio thus far, while 5 African athletes are all set to make the trip, including Morocco’s world champion Mohammed Rabii.
Ireland’s recent successes at the 2015 World Championships means that four boxers from the Emerald Isle, including Michael Conlan and Patrick Barnes, now have their Olympic berths confirmed.
Despite not fielding a single boxer at London 2012, Croatia can already count on the talents of WSB super heavyweight champion Filip Hrgovic in Rio, while double world champion Clemente Russo of Italy and France’s World Champion Tony Yoka are also among the 60 names now qualified.
A further 190 men and 36 women will be confirmed for Rio 2016 over the coming months, with AIBA Olympic Qualifiers being held in Argentina, Cameroon and China in March. The main women’s qualification tournament comes at May’s World Championships in Kazakhstan, with the final qualification spots for both men and women to be taken up in Azerbaijan in June.