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Bernard Dunne confident Kellie Harrington is ready for ‘final step’

It’s the final step but still, just another step along a fight-by-fight journey for Kellie Harrington, suggests Bernard Dunne.

Harrington takes on formidable foe Beatriz Ferreira in the Olympic lightweight decider looking to become only Ireland’s third Olympic boxing gold medal winner in Tokyo tomorrow morning.

It’s a fight Dunne is sure his fellow Dub has dreamt about all her life but it’s not a bout that will prompt her to ditch a one fight at a time approach.

The former super bantamweight world champion assures the 2018 World Amateur Champion’s focus will be on implementing the multiple game plans devised as well as her performance rather than the massive occasion.

“It’s language we would always use around our team. We came here focused on performance, focusing on the step-by-step,” said Dunne.

“Kellie is now onto the final step on her ladder. She’ll focus on the tactical pieces that are given to her and really it’s just about self-management now, that’s probably the most important piece.”

“This is what she has dreamed about all her life. This is what all these guys dream about.

“This isn’t something new for them, they’ve lived this moment. We’re trying to manage that piece around it because it can create a lot of anxiety, a lot of pressure.

“I think you can just see from the body language around the athletes that they have become very good at that management piece, knowing that they’re ready, the preparation has been done, now their performances have to come out.”

Coach Zaur Antia assures Harrington goes into the clash armed with at least three game plans and doesn’t believe the battle of world champions has to be the bull versus matador fight it’s being built as.

“Ferreira has good counter-attacks as well. She is skilful and aggressive,” said the respected coach.

“If the plan works very well, it will work for a while,” he explained further.

“You have to have three plans and change them all the time, not to let them settle and find out. It’s about body language, coaches reading body language, the boxer reads the body language of the opponent and then if you call at the right time then the boxer will implement this.

“If the boxer implements it later, it will not work. That’s from many years together, what we have learned from each other. When we call something and it’s implemented at the same time, that’s when good things happen.”

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: