Belfast boxer O'Hara books place in Commonwealth Games final
Belfast’s Kristina O’Hara will take on boxing legend Mary Kom from India in the light flyweight gold medal bout at the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, Australia on Saturday.
A member of the St John Bosco BC in west Belfast, the 22-year-old assured herself of a silver medal at least when she secured a unanimous points victory over New Zealand’s Tasmyn Benny.
In the other semi-final in the 48kg division Kom – the first superstar in women’s amateur boxing – also won 5-0 to advance to her first ever Commonwealth final.
Now 35, Kom won a bronze medal at the first ever women’s world boxing championships in the United States in 2001, before going on to win five world titles on the spin – a feat equalled in 2014 by Katie Taylor.
Kom won a bronze medal in the flyweight class at the London Olympics. The esteem in which the mother of three is held in her native country was underlined in 2016 when she was nominated by the President of India as a member of the upper house of the Indian Parliament.
Meanwhile, Rio Olympians Brendan Irvine (flyweight) and Steven Donnelly (middleweight) assured themselves of bronze medals when they reached the semi-finals of their respective weight divisions.
Irvine edged a 4-1 verdict over Botswana's Rajab Mahommed while Donnelly earned a dominant win over Samoa's Henry Tyrell – even though he was given a standing count in the final round. By then Donnelly – who won a bronze medal at the 2014 Games in Glasgow - had built up a big lead.
Women's flyweight Carly McNaul also guaranteed herself at least a bronze after a second round stoppage win over Nigeria's Ayisat Oriyomi, but lightweight Alanna Nihell was beaten by England's Paige Murney on a unanimous 5-0 verdict.
Lightweight prospect James McGivern also breezed into the semi-finals with a dominant display against John Colin from Mauritius to secure at least a bronze medal and secure the Northern Ireland boxing team their eighth medal at the Games.