Wednesday 28 September 2016

Impressive Walsh one win away from an Elite medal

Bernard O'Neill

Published 23/05/2016 | 02:30

Boxer Grainne Walsh. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Boxer Grainne Walsh. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

IRISH welterweight Grainne Walsh is within one victory of becoming the only Irish boxer besides Katie Taylor to win a medal at the World Women's Elite Championships.

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The orthodox fighter from Spartacus BC in Offaly dropped the first round on two cards against Poland's Hanna Solecka yesterday in Astana, Kazakhstan, but claimed the final three frames of a toe-to-toe battle to earn an impressive unanimous decision.

Walsh, who received a bye into the last 16, will tomorrow meet Kazakhstan's Valentina Khalzova, an Astana native, for a place in the last four.

"I am delighted with the win, but it was tough in there. She was a strong opponent," said the 20-year-old following her victory on her World Elite debut.

Meanwhile, light-welter Kelly Harrington and Olympic lightweight champion Katie Taylor are in action today. Taylor scored an up-tempo unanimous decision over Sweden's Agnes Alexiusson on Saturday to record her 26th World Championships win since 2005 from 27 outings.

She meets Argentina's Dayana Sanchez in the last 16 this afternoon - two wins away from qualifying for her second Olympics.

The top four women (the semi-finalists) in the three Olympic weights for females - flyweight, lightweight and middleweight - will book their Rio tickets in Astana.

Walsh, Taylor and Harrington are the remaining Irish boxers in the tournament.

Taylor needed attention to a bloody nose against Alexiusson, an ex-World Youth champion, following an accidental clash of heads early in Saturday's four-rounder.

Harrington, meanwhile, meets Germany's ex-EU bronze medallist Cindy Rogge in the afternoon session, which begins at 9am (Irish time). Taylor faces Sanchez in the evening session, which begins at 2pm (Irish time).

The Bray woman is aiming to become the first female boxer in the history of the sport to win six successive World Elite titles in Central Asia.

Meanwhile, David Haye secured the second victory of his comeback with a second-round knock-out of Arnold Gjergjaj at London's 02 Arena.

The heavyweight, fighting for the second time in five months after a three-and-a-half-year lay-off with a shoulder injury, provided another demonstration of his power one minute and 35 seconds into the second, securing the 26th stoppage of his career.

Irish Independent

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