Ceire Smith’s Rio dream ends after qualification defeat in Astana

Ceire Smith in 2015

Ceire Smith believes her intense pursuit of victory cost her against Colombia’s Ingrit Valencia at the World Women’s Championships and Olympic qualifiers in Astana, Kazakhstan yesterday.

The Cavan BC flyweight dropped a majority decision (38-38, 39-37, 39-37) on a day when Sweden’s Agnes Alexiusson beat Italy’s Rio Olympian Irma Testa to set up tomorrow’s last-32 lightweight clash with Katie Taylor.

Smith’s exit to Valencia, who qualified for Rio after beating America’s Virginia Fuchs — with ex Irish coach Billy Walsh working Fuchs’ corner — in Buenos Aires earlier this year, means Ireland will not have a female flyweight at Rio 2016.

Astana is the final Rio 2016 qualifier for females in the three women’s Olympics weights — flyweight, lightweight, and middleweight — and Cork middleweight Christina Desmond and Taylor are the only Irish fighters who can qualify.

That’s unless Ireland gets the one invitation place for flyweights. However, these are usually reserved for developing nations.

Ireland, which regularly finishes high in the medals table in international competition, would find it hard to convince that it is a developing boxing nation.

Smith appeared to be on her way after taking the first round on all cards yesterday, but Valencia nailed the second, split the third in her favour, and then won the fourth.

“It’s so disappointing, I came here with such high hopes. I won the first round, but she came back strong in the second, and the third was fairly even,” said Smith.

“I wanted victory so bad, I wanted to hit her with every shot in the fourth and I think I tensed up wanting it so much. She’s already qualified and was always going to be tough, but I could have won it.”

Meanwhile, Dervla Duffy, Moira McEliggot, Kelly Harrington, and Christina Desmond will be in action today in Astana.

Here’s a little extra sport: Ahead of Euro 2016 BallTalk TV ask which Irish players in the Premier League had the best season:


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