Kelyn Cassidy rolls his last Olympic dice in Thailand

Kelyn Cassidy rolls his last Olympic dice in Thailand

Thailand, the land of smiles, hosts the final round of boxing qualifiers for the Paris Olympics with Waterford's Kelyn Cassidy hoping to finish off the job he started four years ago.

The tournament kicks off on Saturday morning and Cassidy will need to win four bouts if he is to book his ticket to Paris. That journey begins with German opposition in Delil Dadaev.

The 21-year-old has had 18 amateur bouts, winning nine and losing nine. While nothing is certain, the Waterford man should have more than enough to get the job done in the opening contest.

He has come close to securing his place twice in the past year but fallen short at the final hurdle on both occasions. The first missed chance was at the European Games last summer, and then more recently in Italy back in March.


On both occasions, Cassidy was narrowly beaten by boxers who boast impressive records.

Oleksandr Khyzhniak - a World & European gold and Olympic silver medalist - took a split decision win in Poland at the European games, while Nurbek Oralbay - the current world champion stopped Cassidy's hopes in Italy, again by split decision on the judge's cards. 

What was not known at the time of the contest with Oralbay was that Cassidy was competing with a broken hand.

"He broke his hand after his second contest," says Saviour's Crystals coach Paul Simpson.


"He'd a broken thumb. He boxed the Armenian with a broken hand and boxed the world number one with a broken hand. I seen the self-belief in him and the performance level. Like, to go in there knowing you have a broken hand against the world champion, I'm not putting it out there as the reason he lost, your man was just a top-class operator."

Thankfully, the injury was not a recurrence of the broken hand that had kept him out of action for the majority of 2022, but now he has a break on both hands going forward.

The Ballybeg native has been in Bangkok for the past two weeks with the Irish high-performance unit as they acclimatise to the mid-thirties average temperatures and overbearing humidity.

Cassidy knows that this is the final roll of the dice. This journey started in 2021 when he knocked out Tommy Hyde to claim his first Senior Elite Irish title. Since then he has backed it up twice more for three consecutive titles and has also represented Ireland and Waterford on the world stage. The culmination of his hours spend in the gym all come down to the next 6 days where four fights stand between him and a place in Paris later this summer.

He boxes in the afternoon session on Saturday, but with the time difference taken into account, he will be in action around 9 am Irish time.