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Published: 13:35 | 28/6/19

Harrington, Walker and Walsh progress to finals


Kellie Harrington and Kurt Walker have joined Michaela Walsh in securing at least a silver medal in their respective division at the European Games.

Harrington earned a unanimous decision in her lightweight semi-final against Sweden's Agnes Alexiusson and her reward is a final date against Finland's Mira Potkonen, who defeated Katie Taylor at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“I came here last time and got a bronze medal. I came in here [this time] and said, ‘Hopefully, I’ll get more than a bronze.’ And now I’m in the final," Harrington commented.

"The best thing about it is we [the Irish team] are a wolfpack. I’m not a lone wolf — we’re a wolf pack. We’re all here as a team, we’re all medalling. It’s fantastic. Irish boxing is well and truly alive.

“I haven’t had a fight since February so to be back here now and to be in a European final… That’s just… This is what dreams are made of. I have, I think, nearly every medal now except for an Olympic one.

“This is just fantastic for a girl out of Dublin 1,” she laughed. “It’s brilliant.”

Walker is also into the final of his 56kg category after the Lisburn native was awarded his fight against Peter McGrail on a 3-2 split decision.

There was little to separate the pair but Walker just edged it

“It was so tough. He’s so good technically. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them coaches telling me the gameplan, honestly," Walker said. “I just tried to perfect it as best I can. I wasn’t doing some things right, but I got the decision and I’m delighted.

“It’s a credit to the coaches. They’ve had a harder week than I have — they’ve been flat out for the last 10 days: in at 12, back home at 12 at night.

“I’m very thankful of everyone back home, as well — the support is brilliant.

"It’s unbelievable. Four years ago, I went out in my first fight. And now I’m in the final. Hard work really does help, like. It really does.

Earlier, Michaela Walsh moved one win away from clinching a gold medal at the European Games after she defeated Russian Daria Abramova to move into the featherweight final in Minsk.

Having already secured a bronze medal, the 26-year-old looked determined to improve on that as she stepped into the ring on Friday afternoon and she landed a number of heavy blows during the exchanges.

Abramova, however, proved a tough opponent and the judges were split 3-2 in Walsh's favour with the Belfast boxer going through to Saturday's final where she will face Petrova Stanimira.

“I feel amazing, it’s great to get that win. Going in I had a perfect game plan and I tried my best to stick with it but obviously when you are fighting such [good] opposition it can go either way," Walsh said. “I feel I performed really well but the job’s not done. I’m refocusing and on to the next one.

“I definitely knew I won the fight, 100%. You are going to get split decisions like this. Thank God, I came out on the right side of it.

“This is what dreams are made of. People think it’s just one week, two weeks.

"There are months, years of training since I started boxing. Every tournament I go to the aim is the Olympic Games and I’m just one fight away from it."

There was disappointment for Grainne Walsh in the welterweight semi-final as she missed out on a place in the final.

Walsh was defeated by   Karolina Koszewska with the judges scoring the fight 3-2 in favour of her opponent, which means the Offaly native must settle for bronze




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