'Four years I've been working for this and they've stolen it from me': Michaela Walsh devastated after final loss
MICHAELA Walsh hopes she gets the chance at revenge over Skye Nicolson in November’s World Championships after suffering Commonwealth Games heartache for the second time in-a-row.
In Glasgow four years ago Walsh came out on the wrong side of a split decision against double Olympic champion Nicola Adams in the 51kg final, and unfortunately for the north Belfast woman history was repeated at Oxenford Studios on Saturday.
Despite appearing to land the cleaner shots in a scrappy featherweight contest, the judges went for home favourite Nicolson, leaving Walsh disappointed once again.
“I’m heartbroken, I felt I’d done enough,” said the 24-year-old.
“I don’t know how it was a split decision, I thought I was in control the whole fight. The last round I sort of stepped off the pedal a bit but…
“I don’t know, for the first two rounds she didn’t hit me with anything, but it is what it is. I have to get on with it.
“This is a gold medal, this isn’t silver. I’m going to get ‘gold medals only’ engraved on this, this is a gold medal. Last time, with Nicola Adams, it was a close fight, I thought I won but this time I 100 per cent won – there’s not a chance I lost that fight.
“But she's the face of the Games and sometimes that's the way it is. I’d like to congratulate Skye, she’s a great ambassador for women’s boxing and hopefully we can do it again in the World Championships later in the year.”
And the Monkstown fighter, whose father Damien and coach Paul Johnston were in the crowd, admitted it was more painful than losing out to Adams in Glasgow.
“Yeah, definitely,” she added.
“Four years I’ve been working for this and they’ve stolen it from me. Everyone knows I won… it’s hard to deal with.”
And if Nicolson was the face of the Commonwealths, she was the story of the Games too.
Twenty-eight years ago her brother Jamie won Commonwealth bronze in Auckland, and went on to represent Australia at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
However, Jamie was just 22 when he and younger brother Gavin (10) died in a 1994 car accident on their way to boxing training - a year before their sister was born.
And Nicolson believes the brothers she never met were in the corner against Walsh.
“I had a little chat to them right before I went in and they were definitely there with me,” said the 22-year-old from Brisbane.
“I won that medal for both of us tonight. I'm so stoked. I have no words. I'm so excited right now, over the moon. The best feeling I've ever felt in my life.”
Michaela’s brother Aidan, meanwhile, came up short in his welterweight final against the tough, quick Pat McCormack from England.
Walsh started well, sticking and moving and frustrating his opponent, but as the fight wore on it was Geordie McCormack who landed the more telling blows and forced the pace to land gold.
Considering he has only had a handful of senior fights, winning silver two years after taking home gold from the Commonwealth Youth Games is no mean feat, and Walsh knows he will come again.
He said: “Pat’s a great lad, I knew that before I was going in too, but I was confident. Today just wasn’t my day - my day will come though.
“I’m only turned 2, and I’ve enjoyed it. It was a great trip overall. I’ve a lot more to give. The coaches have been absolutely great, pushing me all the way.
“I’m a bit disappointed now but at the same time I just have to look at what I’ve done in this tournament. I give it my best.
“My dream is the Olympics but I have to get better and better, and in this tournament I have. That’s my ultimate goal, that’s what I’m striving for.”