Kristina O'Hara and Steven Donnelly shine on big day for Irish boxers
FIVE out of six ain’t bad as the Team NI boxers enjoyed another day to remember on the Gold Coast yesterday – with Kristina O’Hara topping the bill by securing at least a silver medal in the light-flyweight division.
O’Hara came through a bruising encounter against Welsh roughhouse Lynsey Holdaway on Sunday, and was much more comfortable in disposing of New Zealand’s Tasmyn Berry on a unanimous decision.
“I’m on a roll,” said the St John Bosco fighter, who faces Indian superstar Mary Kom in Saturday’s final.
“I knew she only really had two punches – a jab and a one-two, so I felt more relaxed. I knew I was going to be in control of the whole fight, and I set the pace. It was good to get the win, but the job’s not over yet.
“I’m happy now, but I’ll be a lot happier when I know I have the gold medal.”
Steven Donnelly also entered the medal fray when he booked a bronze medal to at least emulate what he achieved in Glasgow four years ago, boxing beautifully to overcome hard-hitting Samoan Henry Tyrell.
The Ballymena man was in total control of the middleweight contest and, barring a dubious standing count he was given in the final round, was pleased with his day’s work.
“I felt sharp, it as the best I’ve felt so far, I’m just getting better and better at the right time,” said the 29-year-old, who faces India’s Vikas Krishan in tomorrow’s semi-final.
“That standing count was nothing – I was off balance. The same thing happened in Rio. He did hit me on the top of the head but I hit him a cracker at the same time – I actually thought he was being given a standing count.
“When I saw it was me I was like ‘no way ref’… it’s those big bloody size 10 feet I have, I keep falling over them.”
There were wins too for Carly McNaul, Brendan Irvine and James McGivern, but disappointment for Alanna Nihell.
The joint team captain – a bronze medallist in Glasgow - came up short in her 60kg quarter-final fight with Paige Murney and becomes the fourth Irish fighter to exit the competition.
51kg semi-final: Carly McNaul v Christine Ongare (Kenya) (3.15am approx)
52kg semi-final: Brendan Irvine v Reece McFadden (Scotland) (4.45am approx)
60kg semi-final: James McGivern v Manish Kaushik (India) (5am approx)
57kg semi-final: Michaela Walsh v Alexis Pritchard (NZ) (9.30am approx)
56kg semi-final: Kurt Walker v Eric Basran (Canada) (10.30am approx)
69kg semi-final: Aidan Walsh v Winston Hill (Fiji) (11am approx)
75kg semi-final: Steven Donnelly v Vikas Krishan (India) (11.30am approx)