Sunday 25 September 2016

Harrington's fairytale overshadowed by Katie exit

BOXING

Published 27/05/2016 | 02:30

Katie Taylor reacts as the referee raises the hand of her opponent Estelle Mossely in Astana yesterday. Photo: AIBA via Sportsfile
Katie Taylor reacts as the referee raises the hand of her opponent Estelle Mossely in Astana yesterday. Photo: AIBA via Sportsfile

Kellie Harrington goes for World Championship gold in Astana this morning just a year after being a virtual unknown in the world of elite boxing.

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The 26-year-old light-welter's gold medal bout with China's Yang Wenlu is the sixth contest on a card that gets under way at 10am and she has promised "to get the gold, to get the job done" after yesterday's stunning semi-final rout of six-time Canadian champion, Sara Kali.

Harrington, who was boxing on club bills until her recent elevation to the High Performance programme, won every round on all three judges' cards with a marvellous exhibition of switch-hitting between orthodox and southpaw.

But there was devastation for Katie Taylor in her bid to win a record sixth consecutive lightweight gold, the Olympic champion losing a split decision to familiar French opponent, Estelle Mossely.

Taylor's defeat, her second in six weeks, must seriously dent confidence in her hopes of a successful Olympic title defence in Rio next August, albeit the Irish coaching team believed she had done enough to win.

"I thought we won it" insisted assistant coach Eddie Bolger.

It was Mossely's first victory over Taylor in four attempts, destroying the remarkable Bray girl's hopes of eclipsing the five-time world champion status she shares with India's Mary Kom.

Harrington, who praised Bolger and head coach Zaur Antia, won't be in Rio as her weight division is not one of the three included in the women's programme but, on yesterday's evidence, she could be a live candidate for Tokyo 2020 should calls for an extension of that programme find approval.

Irish Independent

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