Sunday 22 September 2019

Harrington joins Irish boxing's pantheon of all-time greats with stunning world title win

GOLDEN MOMENT: Kellie Harrington has her hand raised in victory after her bout with Sudaporn Seesondee at the AIBA Women’s World Championships. Picture: Sportsfile
GOLDEN MOMENT: Kellie Harrington has her hand raised in victory after her bout with Sudaporn Seesondee at the AIBA Women’s World Championships. Picture: Sportsfile
Jerome Reilly

Jerome Reilly

Dubliner Kellie Harrington yesterday became one of Irish boxing's all-time greats when she lifted the world title in New Delhi.

The 28-year-old won a gold medal in the lightweight division at the AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships in the Indian capital following victory after a hard-fought and technically accomplished battle with Thailand's Sudaporn Seesondee.

In doing so, Harrington becomes only the third Irish fighter after Katie Taylor and Michael Conlan to win a world title gold at amateur level.

Yesterday's split decision victory means that Harrington (28) at last secures the top honour she deserves after her silver medal at the world championships at light welterweight two years ago.

Judges gave her the fight 3-2 and the Irish champion collapsed into her corner in delight before saluting the strong Irish support at ringside.

Harrington was awarded the bout 29-28 by three of the five judges, while Sudaporn took two cards on scores of 29-28 and 30-27.

"I'm still kind of numb right now to be honest," said Harrington.

"It won't really hit home until I get home. It's been a long process since 2016.

"I wanted to come back and get a gold. I said I'd come back and get it.

"I said it and I believed it. I worked in silence, came back and did the job."

Inevitably both fighters were cautious in a cagey opening round.

It was the Thai boxer who landed the first shots during some tense early exchanges and it appeared Harrington was taking time to settle into her natural fluency.

However, she finished the opener strongly with a few eye-catching combinations, though the round was too close to call.

The St Mary's BC fighter moved up a gear in the second round, but her opponent hit back with some big shots later in the round. It was nip and tuck in what was a technical and tactical battle.

Perhaps sensing that she was in trouble, Seesondee was far more aggressive in the final round, rattling Harrington with a few strong combinations.

But the Irish boxer used her ring craft to good effect and evaded most of the biggest shots.

She finished the fight strongly with a few sharp combinations of her own and that may have been the difference in a close-fought and absorbing contest.

Sunday Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News