Irvine misses chance to book Rio spot

Brendan Irvine won a silver medal in the 2015 European Games

Brendan Irvine forced Narek Abgaryan to take a late standing count but the Armenian had already done enough to win

Belfast flyweight Brendan Irvine missed out on Olympic qualification as he was beaten in Turkey on Friday although he will have another chance to book his spot in Rio on Saturday.

Irvine, 19, was beaten by Armenia’s Narek Abgaryan in the semi-finals of the European Olympic qualifying event.

However with three Rio spots available, Irvine has another chance on Saturday.

Irvine forced Abgaryan to take a late standing count but the Armenian took a deserved unanimous verdict in Samsun.

The Belfast man, a silver medallist at last year’s inaugural European Games, will secure a Rio berth if he defeats Bulgaria’s Daniel Asenov in a box-off on Saturday.

Asenov was outpointed by Britain’s Muhammad Ali in Friday’s other flyweight semi-final.

St Paul’s club-man Irvine produced a clever left-right combination early on but the busy Armenian hit back with a number of decent shots to taken the first round on all three judges’ cards.

Abgaryan dominated the second session with one big right hand, in particular, rocking back Irvine on his heels.

Trailing 20-18 on all three cards heading into the final round, Irvine bravely attempted to turn around the contest but the Armenian stayed out of range for the most part.

Abgaryan appeared to think that the bell had already sounded as he dropped his hands with 10 seconds remaining, as a barrage of Irvine blows led to a standing count for the Armenian.

But Abgaryan had already done enough to get the verdict.

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