Saturday 16 December 2017

Harrington aims to follow Taylor's example


Kellie Harrington. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Kellie Harrington. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Bernard O'Neill

Olympic champion Katie Taylor, undefeated in half a dozen fights in the paid ranks against professionals who are way beneath the level required of Elite amateurs, is the standard Irish female boxing will measure itself against this weekend.

World Elite finalist Kellie Harrington and Gráinne Walsh are both in semi-final action at the European Union (EU) Elite Women's Championships in Cascia, Italy today and Michaela Walsh is through to tomorrow's final.

Harrington has dropped down from light-welter to lightweight to target the lightweight title won by Taylor at the last EU Championships in 2013 where she beat France's Olympic champion Estelle Mossely in the final.

So far, Taylor, a five-time EU champion, is the only Irish female boxer to claim gold at this level. Harrington, who is guaranteed at least bronze, meets Italy's Irma Testa today for a place in the final.

Finland's Mira Potkonen faces England's Shona Whitehall in the corresponding semi-final. Potkonen shocked Taylor in the Rio Olympic quarter-finals in the Bray's woman last fight in the amateur ranks.

Walsh, also guaranteed bronze, is in against Germany's Nadine Aptez, while Michaela Walsh clashes with Germany's Azize Nimani in tomorrow's 54kg decider at the 19-nation tournament. It has been an impressive summer for Irish boxing so far.

"This team is very much focused on the next performance. Our guys are in the best shape they've ever been in and are a match for any team here," said high-performance director Bernard Dunne, the Irish team manager in Italy.

Irish Independent

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