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Cuba's Ramirez qualifies for Rio boxing tournament

Robeisy Ramirez of Cuba rests between rounds during his fight against Arslan Khataev of Finland. Karim de la Plaine/AIBA/Handout via REUTERS
Robeisy Ramirez of Cuba rests between rounds during his fight against Arslan Khataev of Finland. Karim de la Plaine/AIBA/Handout via REUTERS

(Reuters) - Olympic flyweight boxing champion Robeisy Ramirez finally made sure of his place at the Rio Games on Thursday after reaching the bantamweight semi-finals at the last amateur qualifying tournament in Azerbaijan.

Ramirez, gold medallist at London 2012, had been forced to travel to Baku for a last chance of making the grade after failing to clinch a spot in the continental qualifiers for the Americas.

The 22-year-old beat Kenyan Benson Gicharu Njangiru 3-0 in the quarter-finals, with the top four in Baku sure of going to Brazil.

Britain's Pat McCormack and Josh Kelly also qualified for Rio in the light-welterweight and welterweight categories.

Britain now has boxers qualified in all 10 men's weight divisions, closing the door to any professionals, and two in the women's competition in what will be the country's biggest Olympic team yet.

Amateur boxing's governing body AIBA has allowed professionals to compete in Rio, but they must qualify at a tournament in Venezuela next month and only in divisions where their countries have not yet already secured slots.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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