Nolan qualifies in Turkey

Nolan elebrates after victory over Ionut Gheorghe in Trabzon today. Picture: SPORTSFILE

Adam Nolan has become the fifth Irish boxer to qualify for the London Olympics after his semi-final win over Romania’s Ionut Gheorghe in Trabzon, Turkey today.

A top-two finish was required to book Olympic tickets in the welterweight division.

Bray BC southpaw Nolan, boxing out of the blue corner, did the business with a clinical display of counter-punching this afternoon.

An emotional Nolan, who went into the ring as an Irish international and came out of the squared circle as an Irish Olympian, said that he had realised a lifetime ambition.

“It’s just unbelievable, I can’t believe it, I just can’t believe it. It’s a boyhood dream,” said the Enniscorthy man.

Irish head coach Billy Walsh, who was working Ireland’s corner today along with Zuar Antia, said they were thrilled with the win.

“It was a fantastic result. I know his family. They are big GAA people, said Walsh, a former Irish Olympian.

“It’s massive for Wexford. He’s the second Wexford boxer ever to qualify for the Olympic Games, following after myself.

“It’s nice to see someone else take up the mantle and hopefully do a lot better than I did.”

Nolan now joins Paddy Barnes, Darren O’Neill, John Joe Nevin and Michael Conlan on the Irish team for the London Olympics.

Barnes, who qualified for London 2012 in Trabzon, will be in semi-final action later this afternoon, followed by Tommy McCarthy.

Belfast heavyweight McCarthy is in against Moldovan Vladimir Cheles.

McCarthy has no room for error at the AIBA European qualifiers in Trabzon as he has to go all the way and win gold as there is only one Olympic place left for heavyweights.

Nolan, meanwhile, will meet Germany’s Patrick Wojcicki in tomorrow’s welterweight final.

Nolan and Wojcicki have secured Olympic berths by virtue of reaching the final.

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