GB still in hunt for nine Olympic spots

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Nicola Adams: This is my road to Rio

Team GB can secure nine boxing berths for Rio on Friday in the semi-finals of the European qualifying event.

Olympic champion Nicola Adams began the day in Turkey with a comfortable points win against France’s Sarah Ourahmoune.

Further wins followed from Joe Joyce, Josh Buatsi, Galal Yafai, Mohammad Ali, Qais Ashfaq, Anthony Fowler and Lawrence Okolie, while Joe Cordina was given a walkover.

The top three men and top two women in each division win places at Rio 2016.

Only two fighters – light welterweight Pat McCormack and welterweight Cyrus Pattinson – were unable to get the judges’ decision.

Of all the wins, perhaps heavyweight Okolie’s and Buatsi’s at light-heavyweight were the most impressive.


Merseysider Anthony Fowler won middleweight gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games

Okolie overcame a Turkish boxer 3-0 on home soil while still relatively inexperienced at European level, while Buatsi scored a unanimous points decision over the second seed from Germany, Serge Michel.

Top super-heavyweight seed Joyce enjoyed a unanimous win, as did Ashfaq – the highest bantamweight seed – despite sporting facial cuts from his previous bout.

Ali’s 3-0 points win sets up a semi-final against Bulgaria’s Daniel Asenov, who beat the Yorkshire teenager to gold at the 2015 European Championships in Bulgaria.

Yafai at light-flyweight was awarded his bout after his Moldovan opponent was disqualified for persistent holding.

And middleweight Fowler won a split decision after a bruising encounter with higher-seeded Romanian Bogdan Juratoni.

After this event, male boxers have two more chances to qualify – at the World Series of Boxing event in Bulgaria in May and the final Olympic qualifying event in Azerbaijan in June. The women have one more chance – at the World Championships in Kazakhstan in May.

Both men’s and women’s semi-finals take place on Friday. Finals and box-offs for third place are split over Saturday and Sunday.

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