Michael Conlan backs Kurt Walker to do double over Canadian Robin Basran
MICHAEL Conlan believes that Kurt Walker can do the double over Robin Basran at the World Elite Men's Championships in Russia.
The county Antrim featherweight meets the Canadian in a repeat of their 2018 Commonwealth semi-final in Ekaterinburg tomorrow after beating Columbia's David Avila yesterday.
The current European champion and N0 6 seed on the Eurasia border earned a 4–1 split verdict over the durable Columbian southpaw but Dublin heavyweight Kiril Afanasev bowed out to Bulgaria's Radoslav Panaleev on a 4-1 split on Sunday.
“Kurt looked like he was getting better and better toward the end of the fight against the Columbian, “ said Conlan, the only Irish male boxer to win a World Elite amateur title before he turned pro.
“The first round he was a bit slow but he picked it up, By the end of the fight, he was a clear winner. He's got the Canadian next.
"It was a split decision in the Commonwealths last year but at the same time, I thought that Kurt should have won unanimously. They gave it a 3-2 split for some reason."
Basran beat Cuadra Guerrero yesterday, but Guerrero, Nicaragua's only boxer at the 77-nation tournament asked plenty of questions of the fleet-footed Canadian.
"I think that Kurt is 10 times the fighter he was from the Commonwealths and he has every chance of winning a medal in Russia,” added Conlan, whose dad John Conlan is working Ireland's corner in Russia this week with head coach Zaur Antia and Eoin Pluck.
Bernard Dunne, IABA High-Performance Director, believes that Walker, who had to wait six days for his first fight after getting a bye into the last 32, showed his ring craft against Avila, who looked dangerous when he closed down the space between himself and the Ulsterman.
“Kurt's mental strength, his experience, got him through. He had to adjust a couple of times in the fight. He showed real composure against a very dangerous opponent,'' said Dunne from ringside in Russia.
"It's a great start for Kurt. He had to wait almost a week before getting in the ring. That can kinda affect some athletes but Kurt handled it well. Our guys are performing well and we'll keep moving in the right direction.”
Meanwhile, Portlaoise BC middleweight Michael Nevin meets Russia's Gleb Bakshi for a place in the quarter-finals today. Crimea-born Bakshi, the No. 8 seed in the 75kg class in Ekaterinburg.
Nevin, a three-time European champion at underage level, has won two fights so far at the 20th edition of the tournament.
Antrim welter Aidan Walsh is in against England's No. 2 seed Pat McCormack in the last 32 this afternoon.
The fight is a repeat of the 2018 Commonwealth final which the Sunderland fighter won in Australia.
Walsh impressed en route to victory on his World Elite debut on Saturday's after beating Israel's Miroslav Kapuler-Cishchenko. The Ukraine born puncher took one judge with him but the Monsktown BC man deservedly got the nod from the other four.
2019 World Elite Men's Championships Ekaterinburg, Russia
57kg: K Walker beat D Avila (Columbia) 4-1
91kg: K Afanasev (Ireland) lost to R Panaleev (Bulgaria) 1-4