A pretty good weekend for Irish women boxers in the first major women’s tournament in Europe this year.
On Saturday, Michaela Walsh and Kellie Harrington got Ireland off to a winning start on Day 1 of the European Union Elite Women’s Championships in Cascia, Italy.
The Antrim and Dublin bantam and light – the 2014 and 2016 Commonwealth and World Elite finalists – earned unanimous and 4-1 split decisions over England and Poland’s champions.
Walsh came from behind after losing the first frame 4-1 to ex-European Junior champion Jones of the Heart of Portsmouth ABC, and World No. 2 ranked Harrington won 4-1 after a 60kg battle with Kinga Szalachcic.
Both boxers are now through to Monday’s quarter-finals against Moldova and Denmark and are one win each away from at least bronze.
Cork middle Christina Desmond received a bye into the last-eight and will meet Nouchka Fontijn, (whom Desmond beat in 2016) of the Netherlands who lost to Claressa Shields of the USA in the Rio 2016 Olympic final. The winner here will also be guaranteed at least bronze.
Dervla Duffy and Kristina O’Hara convincingly advanced from Sunday’s session, but Carly McNaul bowed out on a split decision to France, despite putting up a fine performance.
In late changes to Monday’s programme, the EUBC have re-ordered the programme and now quarter-finals will take place in the 54kg, 60kg and 69kg weight divisions thus we wish every success to Michaela Walsh, Kellie Harrington and Grainne Walsh in their efforts to guarantee a medal at these championships.
You can follow their fate here and those of the rest of the team in the days ahead. Ireland took seven boxers to these championships as Geesala’s former World Junior Champion, Ciara Ginty had to withdraw due to an 11th hour ankle injury. We wish Ciara a speedy recovery and quick return to the ring.
Monday’s programme in Cascia: