The 2017 EUBC Women’s championships were completed Saturday at the Palazzetto Margherita Gym in Rocca Porena (Cascia – Italy).
Ireland’s Michaela Walsh is the new European Union Elite champion at 54kg.
The Belfast bantam (Monkstown BC) beat Germany’s Azize Nimani on a unanimous decision on Saturday to top the podium and cap a fine tournament.
Walsh won four bouts in seven days ‘en route’ to Gold in Italy.
Kellie Harrington lost out in her bid for lightweight Gold 2-3 and as always fought a gallant fight right to the final bell against the ‘flying Finn’ Mira Potkonen.
The Dublin lightweight lost on a majority decision to Rio 2016 bronze medallist Potkonen after three hard-punching rounds in the 60kg class.
Walsh, Harrington and Tullamore’s Grainne Walsh won gold, silver and bronze in Cascia. The haul matches Ireland’s most successful EU Women’s side who won gold, silver and bronze in 2013.
Belfast-native Walsh, clearly emotional when the Irish National Anthem was being played, is now the only Irish female boxer besides Katie Taylor to win an EU title
When the Irish team – as originally chosen – went to the recent sparring camp in France, Walsh together with Kristina O’Hara and Ciara Ginty were left behind in Dublin as the IABA said that Sport Ireland funding was only available to boxers competing in the five Olympic weights as per Tokyo 2020. That seemed wrong to the writer then and even more wrong now.
Indeed Walsh was not even in the original team, how could they have left out a boxer who took Commonwealth Silver in Glasgow 2014 and only lost out on Gold to a controversial decision in favour of two time Olympic champion Nicola Adams
One of the real benefits of these sparring camps is “Team Bonding” and creating a good spirit within the group and clearly such camps are invaluable. Could it be however that being left behind in Dublin was something that spurred on Michaela to even greater heights? She also has had to do a crowdfunding appeal just before setting out to Cascia.
Let us hope that she is now given immediate funding as without doubt, she and Kelly Harrington (who is funded) are Ireland’s best hopes for Gold in Tokyo 2020 though if they continue to improve at the present rate both Grainne Walsh and Christina Desmond will also be in the hunt.
Splitting a team clearly must NOT be allowed to happen again and Sports Minister Brendan Griffin TD, MUST call the HPU Chief Bernard Dunne and the IABA Executive together and ensure that this is the last time there will be an “us and them” situation.
IF repeat IF women’s boxing is to scale the heights that the men’s sport has over many years then there must simply be ONE team representing the best in Irish women’s boxing whatever the weight and nothing less will satisfy the many boxers and coaches who are unhappy that this happened – and was allowed to happen – by those charged with responsibility of the sport.
Irish boxing has been riddled with internal disputes over many years and according to ‘well informed sources’ we are heading for more fierce arguments and possible resignations and Executive changes when October’s AGM takes place. Again the Minister must intervene and put an end to such nonsense before it destroys Ireland’s reputation abroad.
True it is not the first time but it MUST be the last that boxers have been split into two ‘camps’. After all the IABA like the AIBA professes to support EQUALITY – how can it be EQUALITY if some appear to be more equal than others. UNITED we will achieve even greater glories in the coming years. We call upon Sport Ireland to ensure that such a happening will NOT occur again and that FULL funding for all females in made available from whatever source.
The squad are scheduled to arrive home at 13.35pm Sunday afternoon at Dublin Airport (Terminal 2, via Rome)
European Union Women’s Championships Cascia, Italy August 4th/13th
60kg Kellie Harrington (Ireland) beat Irma Testa (Italy) 5-0
69kg Grainne Walsh (Ireland) lost to Nadine Apetz (Germany) 2-3
54kg Michaela Walsh (Ireland) beat Azize Nimani (Germany) 5-0
60kg Kellie Harrington (Ireland) lost to v Mira Potkonen (Finland) 2-3
48kg Kristina O’Hara (St John Bosco)
51kg Carly McNaul (Ormeau Road)
54kg Michaela Walsh (Monkstown Antrim) (Gold)
57kg Dervla Duffy (Mulhuddart MBA)
60kg Kellie Harrington (St Mary’s) (Silver)
69kg Grainne Walsh (Spartacus, Tullamore) (Bronze)
75kg Christina Desmond (Fr Horgan’s, Cork)
Team Manager/High-Performance Director: Bernard Dunne
Coaches: Dmitry Dimitruc and Jimmy Payne