Two Golds and a Bronze was the reward for a three strong IABA team at the prestigious 2017 International Box Am Tournament in Santa Cruz, Tenerife on Saturday when both Kellie Harrington and Grainne Walsh struck Gold in their respective final bouts.
Harrington, the AIBA World Silver medallist gained a comprehensive 5-0 decision over Romania’s Christa Cosma with the result never in doubt as Harrington hit top form winning 30:25 30:26 30:27 30:26 30:26.
She told us from Ringside in Tenerife:
“I had a great fight and felt comfortable in there and listened to what my Club (and also National Coach) Noel Burke and Antoinette Faye were telling me. We had discussed tactics beforehand and I followed them and took advice from the corner.
As always a great trip away with Team Ireland and I would like to say thanks to all at the HPU for their help over this year – they have been so supportive, it’s ‘my home from home’ and so too all at St. Mary’s Boxing Club Dublin they’re my boxing Family.
Finally thanks to all my supporters they always give me the lift I need in the good times but also when I hit bad times. So to all who encourage and help me ‘day in and day out, a sincere ‘Thank you’ and I hope to continue making you all proud. I’m a proud Dublin 1 ‘inner city woman today’
It was the third Sunday in May back in the year 2012, when a newly formed boxing club was opened in Tullamore, Co. Offaly by a young woman who herself was to become a household name in world boxing circles in August of that year – yes, the newly formed Spartacus Club in the then Axis Business Park was opened by one Katie Taylor who but a few months later struck Gold for Ireland at the Excel Centre in London Docklands when she defeated Russia’s Sofya Ochigava.
Among those watching that ceremony and indeed with brother Joseph later was photographed and appearing in the local Offaly Express with Katie Taylor was the aforementioned Grainne Walsh. Now herself an Irish Elite champion, she like the rest of the country was following Taylor’s World title fight in Cardiff with great interest and it is fitting therefore that just over a week later, Grainne herself struck Gold, in Tenerife. Shortly after her tough fight against Welsh titleholder and European Silver medallist Eccles, the Spartacus fighter told us:
“Everyone thinks I was shocked to get the win. That’s not the case. There was confusion with the announcement. I knew it was close and it was ‘a war’ in there but I felt I did the cleaner and more effective combinations to come away with the win. Respect to my opponent who is very talented. Thanks as usual to all my friends and family and home and my sponsors. The support is always 100%. I really DO appreciate it”.
It was a close fight as Grainne says and that was reflected in the 3:2 majority verdict in her favour. Judges’ scorecards – Walsh first- read: 29:28 29:28 29:28 28:29 27:30. There was though some consolation for our Welsh friends as Lynsey Holdaway defeated the evergreen Steluta Duta of Romania to take the 48kg crown .
Dervla Duffy of the MBA Mulhuddart club took bronze but had the consolation of seeing that the European Silver medallist who defeated her was crowned champion. That title went to Romanian Perijoc Lacromioara who stopped her Swiss opponent in the first minute of their final. Duffy fought a gallant fight but the Romanian is one of the most experienced boxers in European and World competition.