Boxing

Michaela Walsh on cloud nine after adding another Irish elite title to collection

Michaela Walsh forced a second round stoppage of Dealgan's Emma Agnew at last night's Irish Elite Championships. Picture by Mark Marlow
Neil Loughran at the National Stadium

MICHAELA Walsh was on cloud nine at the National Stadium in Dublin last night as she powered to yet another Irish Elite title, stopping brave Emma Agnew in the second round of their featherweight final.

It was the ninth time the north Belfast woman has come up trumps on finals night and, after an edgy first round, she showed her class when a series of impressive attacks forced Agnew into three counts before the fight was waved off.

“She’s a very good boxer, so awkward to hit so the first round was very cagey. I thought I won it but I knew I needed to do more,” said the Monkstown fighter.

“Once I got in my rhythm, I didn’t know if it was going to be stopped but I knew it was only a matter of time. When I caught her with the first standing count, I tried not to rush it but when I caught her the second time I could see she was a bit hurt.

“I’ve always said, finals night is my favourite night of boxing, the atmosphere in here. A lot of champions didn’t enter this year but I had to enter, I wanted to enter. If you’re a true champion you’ll want to enter and, especially with me and Aidan in them, I wanted to make history.

“There’s no stopping us.”

The focus for all the top boxers in the country now switches to the European Olympic qualifiers, which take place at London’s Copperbox Arena next March.

And Walsh is determined to keep her dreams of making it to next summer’s Games in Tokyo alive.

“Hopefully I should be selected, fingers crossed.

“I’ll be back down at the High Performance unit, and hopefully both of us go to the qualifiers.”

Meanwhile, in one of the fights of the night, Tyrone flyweight Jude Gallagher pulled off the result of the night when he scored a unanimous win over the tough Regan Buckley in the 52kg decider.

Buckley, who recently competed at the World Elite Championships and won European Games bronze back in June, started strongly but a succession of crunching body shots saw Gallagher take control.

And once the Two Castles teenager got his nose in front, he never looked back.

“It’s the biggest win yet, especially in my first year as an elite boxer,” said the 18-year-old, who also beat reigning champion Adam Hession in the semi-final.

“It was a tough weight division against three tough lads, beat them all convincingly, all unanimous decisions, so I’m chuffed with that, chuffed with the performances throughout the tournament.

“I’ve been training extremely hard for these championships with Eric [Donovan], my dad, I just know at the minute I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in and I’m just performing absolutely amazing.

“It’s the best I’ve ever been.”

In a cracking light-heavyweight final, Dublin’s Emmett Brennan dethroned Thomas O’Toole in a classic clash of styles, the bruising Brennan eventually getting the nod on a 3-2 split.

RESULTS

60kg: A Broadhurst (Dealgan) W/O

75kg: A O’Rourke (Castlerea) W/O

81+kg: N Finney (Ballybrack) W/O

49kg: S Mari (Monkstown, Dublin) bt R Nesbitt (Holy Family, Drogheda) 3-2

64kg: E Igharo (Clann Naofa) bt C Ginty (Geesala) 3-2

81kg: N Fox (Rathkeale) bt L Houlihan (Crumlin) 5-0

60kg: B McCarthy (St Michael’s, Athy) bt B McReynolds (Holy Trinity) 5-0

48kg: D Moorehouse (Enniskerry) bt S Sweeney (St Anne’s) 5-0

75kg: J Harty (Rathkeale) bt JJ Nevin (Crumlin) 4-1

81kg: E Brennan (Docklands) bt T O’Toole (Celtic Eagles) 3-2

57kg: M Walsh (Monkstown, Aantrim) bt E Agnew (Dealgan) RSC2

51kg: C Smith (Cavan) bt N Early (Ryston) 5-0

52kg: J Gallagher (Two Castles) bt R Buckley (St Teresa’s) 5-0

57kg: D Clancy (Sean McDermott’s) bt P Adamus (Drimnagh) 3-2

69kg: A Walsh (Monkstown, Antrim) bt C Walsh (Riverstown) 5-0

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Boxing