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Aidan Walsh overcame ‘Mental struggle’ to get back boxing

Aidan Walsh revealed he had to win a difficult mental battle to get back boxing in the aftermath of a less difficult fight today. 

The Belfast light middleweight made a resounding return to the ring, winning his opening bout at the 1st Olympic World Qualifier in style. 

The Olympic medal winner dealt with Husain Alkandari of the UAE before the bell to end the first round was rung in what was his first competitive fight since suffering an injury in February of 2023.  

The victory sees the 26-year-old progress to the last 32 and move to within two wins of becoming a two time Olympian, a place he never thought he’d be as recently as five months ago. 

“I’m just happy to be here and back in boxing,” he told after his win. “To be honest even before going in the ring today I was wondering, ‘What am I doing here? How did it come to this? It took a lot of work to get back to boxing and it was a real mental struggle, so to be back here is just an absolute privilege. 

“Five months ago I was sitting on the chair at home, drinking a can of Coke and watching TV, and now I’m here trying to qualify for the Olympic Games. It’s amazing. I’m just looking forward to going back now and having a nice cup of tea, chilling out in my room, and seeing my family.”

So far had Walsh moved away from boxing, that his main goal now is just to ensure he continues to enjoy the sport, everything else, even Olympic qualification, it seems, is a bonus.

“The Olympics changed my life, and I will be forever grateful to the Olympic Games because it’s something that I will remember for the rest of my life. The help and support that I got after that was absolutely amazing, and I was surrounded by good people. I’m just happy to be back in boxing and just loving sport again. My main motivation now is just to be here and enjoy sport. Whether I win, lose or draw, I just want to compete to my best.”

Walsh moves to the Round of 32, and will take on Brazil’s Wanderson de Oliveira in the Morning Session on March 7th. de Oliveira is also a Tokyo Olympian, and contested the Games at light welterweight. He existed at the Quarter Final stage to eventual champion, Andy Cruz.


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