Reigning World Champion and boxing team captain Kellie Harrington announced her arrival at the 2019 Minsk European Olympic Games in style by securing a 4-1 split decision win over Italy’s Irma Testa in the Women’s Lightweight quarter-final bout.
The Dubliner had a long wait to get into the ring, but she put in a clinical display to secure Ireland’s sixth medal. Harrington settled quickly, landing some quick opening blows on Testa to get the match underway, and an interesting battle ensued, as the two edged around each other in the early exchanges. Harrington soon began to assert herself though, and despite being forced to box off the back foot at stages, some key clean blows and nice combinations saw her achieve a convincing victory.
“It was a real twitchy fight. It was like a cat and mouse, but I don’t know who the cat was or who the mouse was!”Harrington said afterwards. “I felt like I was landing the cleaner, heavier shots than hers. I felt like I won all three rounds comfortably, so I’m happy with it.
“It felt great to be back in the ring, I haven’t had a fight since February so I’m happy with the performance and I know now that my fitness is there and that will drive me on in the next fight. Some people think ‘oh you’re a top seed, it’s great’ but being a top seed you have to wait longer, it’s more mental torture than anything. It’s great to be on the same team where everyone else is medalling – it’s great for Irish boxing and it’s great for Irish sport.”
There was disappointment for Aoife O’Rourke in her quarter final bout as she lost out against Britain’s Lauren Price, the Commonwealth gold and World bronze medallist.
Price was in control from the off, dominating the pace of the bout from the early stages, and denying O’Rourke the opportunity to assert her game plan. O’Rourke rallied well, pulling off some nice shots, but Price continued to maintain control of the bout and ran out winner on a unanimous decision.