Paddy Barnes is well placed to gain a place at a third successive Olympiad from his last World Series of Boxing (WSB) fights in Venezuela on April 18.
The top ranked light-fly at the end of the regular WSB next month will qualify for Rio 2016. Barnes is currently in pole position on 30 points after winning six straight bouts for Italia Thunder this season.
Uzbek Hasanboy Dusmatov is two points adrift of the Belfast orthodox. Dusmatov, who fights for the Ukraine Otamans, will have his last fight on April 17 at home to Russia in Kiev.
WSB wins by way of unanimous decisions, KO or TKO earn boxers a maximum of five points. Split decision wins yield four points. However, just three points are awarded for walkovers or disqualification.
Likewise if Dusmatov earns five points in Kiev and Barnes’s opponent cedes a walkover or gets disqualified in Maiquetía city, Venezuela 24 hours later both boxers will end up on 33 points each and may have to box-off for a place at Rio 2016.
Barnes’ opponent for the April 18 clash has yet to be confirmed, but Finol Segundo looks likely.
Michael Conlan will also be in action for Italia Thunder in Venezuela. Conlan is in second spot in the bantam rankings on 21 points, four behind leader Magomed Gurbanov of Azerbaijan, with one fight remaining.
The top two qualify for Rio. Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin is on 19 points with two fights left.