Michaela Walsh and Kurt Walker reach boxing semi-finals at European Games
MICHAELA Walsh and Kurt Walker helped take to six the number of guaranteed medals for Irish boxers at the European Games in Minsk yesterday.
Walsh gained a split decision verdict over reigning world champion Ornella Wahner to book her place in the semi-finals of the women’s featherweight division.
After a high-quality contest, four out of the five ringside judges favoured Walsh, who looked understandably delighted when the verdict was announced.
Walsh, Lisburn fighter Kurt Walker, Gráinne Walsh and Kellie Harrington all guaranteed themselves at least a bronze medal, following on from Regan Daly and Michael Nevin doing likewise on Tuesday.
Walsh, who has won medals at the EU Championships (gold), European Championships (bronze) and the Commonwealth Games (silver twice), said afterwards: “I boxed her as a youth boxer in the semi-finals of the World Championships.
“She stole my dream of becoming a youth world champion, I wasn’t going to let her steal my dream of becoming European Games champion... the job’s not done yet.”
Walker (above) secured Ireland another medal when the fourth seed booked a place in the bantamweight semi-finals with a unanimous decision over Samuel Kistohurry of France.
Walker now fights Britain’s Peter McGrail tomorrow night.
The 24-year-old admitted that he reaped the rewards of changing his style to combat the Frenchman: “It’s probably the first time I have fought in that style,” he said.
“I listened to my coaches and the same shots were working every time. I’m absolutely delighted.”
Gráinne Walsh secured welterweight bronze as she beat European champion and world bronze medalist Elina Gustafsson from Finland.