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Team Ireland had two boxers competing at Tokyo 2020 this morning in the Kokugikan Arena hoping to improve on the Irish results so far
💪 Sensational performance from Ireland's Kurt Walker! He's knocked out featherweight top seed, and reigning world champion, Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov of Uzbekistan.
🥊 Walker won the last-16 fight by split decision.
⭐ He's one win from a medal!#TeamIreland #Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/fUpxBHAffN
— Balls.ie (@ballsdotie) July 28, 2021
Men’s Featherweight (52-57kg) – Round of 16
Kurt Walker (Ireland) v Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov (Uzbekistan)
Walker has shown himself to be in with shout of a medal at this years Games with some brilliant fights in the last few days.
The Lisburn resident beat Spain’s Jose Quiles Brotons in the first round of the featherweight boxing.
Early this morning he faced off against Uzbekistani fighter Mirzakhalilov who was given a bye to reach this stage. His opponent is the reigning world champion and was top seeded entering the competition.
In the first round, the 26-year-old Irish boxer went in hard and won over four of the five judges. He continued the strong form into the second round with three of the judges scoring higher again.
The Irishman pulled off some great dodges along with his strong right arm to show his real quality, lasting through a cut above his eye.
Walker eased off the pedal in the final round as he tired, Uzbekistan’s boxer fought back, knowing he’d need a really big few minutes to win a place in the quarter finals.
Ireland’s Walker held out, winning only one vote from the judges but this was enough to take the tie on a score of 4-1.
He will now face America’s Duke Ragan in the quarter finals knowing a win would earn him at least a bronze medal.
That fight will take place on Sunday, 1st August at 03:30.
Kurt Walker’s baby daughter Layla was born three months prematurely last May — at a time when he couldn’t even see her in hospital. No competitive fight in 16 months coming into Tokyo. Unseeded, rotter of a draw…
Now one fight away from a medal. pic.twitter.com/INCxpmLkU2
— Gavan Casey (@GavanCasey) July 28, 2021
Women’s Middleweight (69-75kg) – Round of 16
Aoife O’Rourke (Ireland) v Qian Li (China)
O’Rourke came into this bout looking for Ireland’s first female boxing victory at Tokyo 2020, she needed to defeat China’s boxer first.
Li seemed confident in the first round, rarely keeping her hands up and skipping around the ring. The Chinese woman took the first round, splitting the judges 3-2.
The Roscommon boxer improved her battling in the second round, forcing Li to hold O’Rourke for much of the round. This was still not enough as she lost the judges voting again.
O’Rourke would need a powerful display in the final round to manage a victory and she showed it for three straight minutes. She dominated each second with Li looking battered and tired.
Li ended winning the bout on unanimous decision and will go to the quarter final.
O’Rourke can keep her head held high as the 24-year-old winning the final round and will look towards Paris in three years for another chance.
A super showing from Ireland’s Aoife O’Rourke but she loses out in the end to Qian Li of China in the Women’s Middle (69-75g) preliminaries by unanimous decision 🇮🇪🥊#TeamIreland #Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/EZ6ByR68tV
— Team Ireland (@TeamIreland) July 28, 2021