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Aidan Walsh waltz’s along the Road to Tokyo

Aidan Walsh waltzed along the road to Tokyo and gave himself two shots at Olympic qualification with victory in Paris this afternoon.

The Belfast 69kg talent progressed to the quarter finals of the Olympic qualiftying tournament with victory over tricky Frenchman Wahid Hambli – a fighter Kieran Molly defeated in Jordanstown earlier this year.

Walsh was awarded all three rounds on four of the five judges’ scorecards, being rewarded for a calm collective performance that had sprinkles of class. One judge did like the more direct approach of the French fighter but Walsh emerged clear 40-37, 40-37, 40-37, 37-40, 40-37 points winner.

It means the Monkstown BC fighter, who looks like he has more gears to go through, has two possible pathways to a Tokyo 2020. Win his quarter-final bout, and the brother of fellow Olympic hopeful Michaela Walsh will become an Olympian, suffer defeat and there is a back door box off route he can take advantage of.

The French fighter came out relatively fast and Walsh tried to keep him at bay behind a long and effective jab. The switch-hitting Belfast fighter did land the combination of the round but all but one the round with effective lead handwork.

Hambli tried to force the issue in the second and did maintain pressure over the three minutes but at times it only served as a platofrom which Walsh could show his skillsets.

The 24-year-old showed good timing and picked the more eyecatching shots to take the round in the judges eyes

With a two-round cushion Commonwealth Games silver medal winner Walsh was up on his toes in the final round staying out of harm’s way primarily but still managing to win the round.

Aoife O’Rourke booked her place in the 75kg quarters with victory over former European Games foe Viktoryia Kebikava of Belarus earlier in the day. Emmet Brennan ends Irish interest in the afternoon session as he takes on Uke Smajli of Switzerland in the super middleweight division.

Jonny Stapleton contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: