Olympics tips: British and Irish boxing stars to watch out for in Rio
Lee Gormley | August 3, 2016
British and Irish boxers set to star at Olympics
There is set to be 287 male and female fighters battling it out among 13 different weight classes at the upcoming Olympics, so which are the boxing stars to watch out for from Britain and Ireland?
With plenty of talent on show, the men will compete throughout 10 divisions, from light-flyweight up to super-heavyweight, while the women will contest in three, flyweight, lightweight and middleweight.
Britain and Ireland boast a wealth of promise within their set-ups, and medals look likely from both camps, with Team GB possessing 12 participants and the Emerald Isle having had eight fighters qualify.
So, ahead of the opening bell sounding on August 6th, Coral look at five boxing stars to watch out for from the British and Irish teams that could make a huge impact in their respective divisions this summer.
Boxing has been at the forefront of Ireland’s Olympics success throughout history, with over half of their medals having come from the sport, and that should be enhanced further in the coming month.
Belfast’s Barnes is the leading hope of success and is 2/1 with Coral to win light-flyweight Gold, with the 29-year-old being the only Irish boxer ever to have already won medals at the Olympics.
With a Bronze medal secured at both Beijing 2008 and London 2012, Ireland’s flag-bearer Barnes enters this time as one of the fancied Olympics tips hoping to land the top prize at 49kg, and he is the front runner to do so in a division he looks more than dominant in.
In the space of 12 months, Belfast bantamweight Conlan has sealed his position as a shining light of Irish sport after Commonwealth, European, and World Championship victories, and he is 5/2 favourite to add Olympics success to that list.
The 24-year-old will have to negotiate a tough division though and is likely to face Cuban conqueror from 2012 Robeisy Ramirez or American talent Shakur Stevenson, but the London Bronze medallist has plenty of confidence and momentum.
Westmeath talent Ward will enter proceedings as the 7/1 second favourite for light-heavyweight superiority, behind only dangerous Cuban Julio Cesar La Cruz, who he has been toppled by twice in the World Championships.
Although, at just 22 years of age, the quick and powerful Irishman may get a chance to make it third time lucky against his Cuban rival, with the pair set to be on opposite sides of the draw to potentially set up a thrilling final clash.
Lightweight hope Joyce was cruelly denied a place in London four years ago when he was decisively penalised in the closing seconds during a World Championship clash, with the 29-year-old having then contemplated retiring.
Although, he made it to Rio at the eighth time of asking in qualifying as he got through the European Olympic route and the professional-styled fighter is 20/1 to claim Gold in what is a testing 60kg division.
Wicklow’s Taylor will take to Brazil as the odds-on 4/6 front runner to defend her women’s lightweight Gold, but Ireland’s Olympic queen has saw her previous aura of invincibility fade with recent defeats to Estelle Mossely and Yana Alekseevna.
The 30-year-old has the opportunity to reassert her dominance in Rio though and another overall success would surely be her greatest achievement to date, after no less than five World Championship crowns to her name already.
Hard-hitting Merseyside middleweight Fowler, cousin of Liverpool striking legend Robbie, has been installed as the 6/1 third-favourite to land Gold in Rio, having secured World Championship Bronze in 2013 alongside Artem Chebotarev.
His fellow Russian medallist will be a potential opponent this summer, along with Ireland’s Michael O’Reilly and Cuban front runner Arlen Lopez, though Fowler looks more than capable of going all the way to top of the podium.
Lightweight prospect Cordina takes to Brazilian soil as the only non-Englishman in Team GB, bearing from Cardiff, and the 24-year-old is 14/1 to reign supreme.
The Welshman won a Bronze medal for his home country at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and will need to be in fine form to earn success this month, with the likes of Cuban Lazaro Alvarez and Russian Albert Selimov leading the way at 60kg.
Leeds-born fighter Adams made history in 2012 by becoming the first ever woman to win an Olympic medal, as she rampantly rallied to Gold at the London Games.
The dominant 33-year-old will take to the ring this summer as the odds-on 1/2 favourite to retain her flyweight crown, with the Yorkshire talent aiming to continue her superiority at 51kg.
Britain’s latest super-heavyweight hope Joyce will look to follow in the footsteps of current IBF world champion Anthony Joshua, by clinching Gold in the men’s heaviest division at the Olympics.
The 30-year-old Londoner comes into the event on the back of Gold medal triumph at the European trials and is thus among Olympics tips as 7/2 joint favourite to reign supreme, alongside Frenchman Tony Yoka. Joyce has also outlined intentions of turning pro after the Games if successful in Brazil.
Ghanaian-born light-heavyweight Buatsi booked his spot in Rio by winning the European Olympic Qualification tournament in April at 81kg, overcoming Ukraine’s Oleksandr Khyzhniak in his semi-final and Dutchman Peter Mullenburg in the final.
Buatsi finds himself in a challenging division, with Cuban Julio Cesar La Cruz, Ireland’s Ward and Azerbaijan’s Teymur Mammadov representing big threats, but he is 16/1 to go on and clinch Gold.