Barnes and Conlan close to Rio Olympic Games qualification

Michael Conlan is in line for qualification for the Rio Olympics
Michael Conlan is in line for qualification for the Rio Olympics

Belfast boxers Michael Conlan and Paddy Barnes moved a step closer to qualification for the 2016 Olympics following victories for Italia Thunder.

The duo are now nicely poised in the World Series of Boxing rankings in the race to qualify for the games in Rio.

Barnes improved to three wins from three with victory over Sebastien Jagodzinski in Poland and lies joint-top in the light-flyweight rankings.

Conlan is in joint second spot in the bantamweight rankings.

The fighter, who has won two from three this season, is in joint second place along with four other boxers, including Cuba's Olympic champion Robeisy Ramirez-Carrazana.

Barnes and Conlan, who both won Olympic bronze medals at London 2012, will again line out for Italia Thunder on 28 February against the Astana Arlans of Kazakhstan in Kazakhstan.

The bouts will be crucial in the battle for pole position and a top-two placing in the light-fly and bantam classes.

The two top ranked World Series Boxing boxers at the end of the regular season in April will each obtain a quota place for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.