Friday 15 February 2019

Kelly on medal hunt with Tokyo spot in sight

Wayne Kelly. Photo: Sportsfile
Wayne Kelly. Photo: Sportsfile

Bernard O'Neill

Wayne Kelly is planning to have qualification for Tokyo 2020 wrapped up by the end of September - with a World or European medal attached to his ticket for the 32nd Olympiad.

The Portlaoise BC light-welter claimed his first Elite belt last February and is back in the mix at 63kg at the 2019 National Elites which begin at Dublin's National Stadium tonight.

Current World champion Kellie Harrington defends her lightweight belt at the flagship tournament of Irish boxing. The AIBA World No 1 has bagged eight Irish titles at three different weights since 2010. A ninth victory at the end of this month would see the Dubliner move a step closer to equalling the records of Olympic finalist Ken Egan and Jim O'Sullivan, who won 10 Elite belts each.

Three-time European Elite light-heavy champion Joe Ward is out of the championships with an elbow injury.

The two-time World Elite finalist and Rio Olympian is having an MRI scan on the knock and is optimistic that he'll be back in action next month.

Ward's fellow Rio 2016 Olympian Brendan Irvine and EU champion Kurt Walker are also out with hand injuries.

European U-22 champion Amy Broadhurst, who lost the 2018 lightweight final to Harrington, boxes at light-welter at the Stadium.

The Dundalk southpaw has already won an Irish U-22 belt this year and hammered Russia's 2016 European Elite champion Alexandra Ordina in the Golden Girl final in Sweden last weekend.

The weigh-ins for the 2019 championships will be held between 8am and 11am today, followed by the draw.

Irish Independent

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