Kurt Walker has won a gold medal for Ireland with a unanimous decision win over Mykola Butsenko of Ukraine in the Men’s Bantamweight -56kg Final at the European Games in Minsk.
The Antrim boxer produced a stunning performance, winning 5-0 against against Butsenko in what was a repeat of the 2017 European Elite semi-final, which the Irishman lost.
Walker was on form from the off, landing some hard, clean punches and managing to keep his composure in the face of some pressure from the Ukrainian. Walker continued to dominate as the rounds ticked on and he stormed home to an unforgettable unanimous decision.
“I actually can’t describe how I’m feeling, it’s absolutely unbelievable,” he said afterwards. “To come here at the start and believe I’ll win gold, but for it to actually happen is just on a different level.
“He was very tough, he’s been about. This was his third European final so he’s very experienced and he kept coming and coming, so I’m just glad I was able to fight through it. Two years ago in the European Championships he beat me in the semis 5-0 and it just shows I’ve grown so much as a boxer and a man in the last two years.”
As the European Games come to a conclusion, sixty-three Irish athletes competed across nine sports, with many achieving personal bests, season bests and top performances.
The fourteen top-six positions achieved by Irish athletes at the Games included one gold, two silvers and four bronze medals.