Harrington and Walsh settle for bronze after narrow defeats
Michaela Walsh's and Kellie Harrington's bids to become the only Irish female fighters beside Katie Taylor to reach a European Elite final ended on split-decision reversals in Sofia yesterday.
Dublin lightweight Harrington was beaten 4-1 (29-28,29-28,29-28,29-28 - 28-29) by Finland's Mira Potkonen, who beat Taylor at the Rio Olympics, and Belfast feather Walsh was edged on a 3-2 split by Russia's Daria Abramova in the semi-finals of the 11th edition of the tournament.
Both Irish fighters will be bringing home bronze from the Bulgarian capital and they've improved Ireland's all-time haul (male and female) at this level to 61 medals since the 1939 Europeans at Dublin's National Stadium.
Harrington's punching was fluent throughout her three-rounder, but Potkonen's heavier shots, which tend to impress judges more under pro-style, 10-point must scoring, maintained her two-year unbeaten run.
Walsh and Abramova, who beat Potkonen in the 2016 light European final but who has since dropped down to feather, was equally as tight. Walsh's jab was potent, while the Russian worked solidly on the inside.
Antrim's current EU champion got the better of an all-out dust-up approaching the final bell, but three of the five judges opted for Abramova (30-27, 30-27, 29-28 - 28-29, 27-30) who is aiming to become a two-weight European champion.
Both Irish women have qualified for next year's European Games in Belarus by virtue of finishing in the top 10 in Sofia. The Ulster and Leinster pair will be presented with their medals today.
Meanwhile, Tyson Fury has been added to the Carl Frampton undercard in Windsor Park, Belfast on August 18.