Micheala Walsh, produced an all-action last round to rescue victory from the jaws of defeat and keep alive her European medal ambitions in Montenegro today.
The Olympian went into final round of her last 16 battle with Arima Zidani down on two cards and level on three. However, she produced a when it matters most and took a ‘who wants it more final session’ to eventually defeat the reigning French professional champion.
The win sees Walsh move to within one win of a second European Championship medal and a fourth Continental medal, considering she also stood on the EU and European Games podium.
A tentative opening minute saw the referee twice call for the pair to box and when leather did fly it appeared the blue gloves of Walsh were more accurate. However, Zidani’s tendency to press in the closing stages seemed to earn her round and she took a 3-2 lead into the second stanza.
The reigning Commonwealth champion endeavored to be first off with her shots in the second. She maintained her stylish approach but was busier and had more by way of volume. Some crisp one-twos and the mandatory Irish check left hook came into play. However, despite what appeared a busier round she only got the nod from one judge.
That meant she needed a big final stanza to progress – and the Belfast featherweight produced it. Walsh threw down and marched forward in the second half of the last round. Her battling spirit won her the round across the board and saw her progress at the French champion’s expense.
Carly McNaul already posted victory today winning through the quarter-finals with a one sided victory over Ana Alexandra Gheorghe of Romania.
Kellie Harrington, who opened her account last night, returns for a second bout later today taking on Ozer Gizem in the evening session.
Team Ireland Squad
48kg: Shannon Sweeney, St. Anne’s, Mayo
50kg: Caitlin Fryers, Immaculata BC, Belfast
52kg: Carly McNaul, Ormeau Road BC, Belfast
54kg: Niamh Fay, Phoenix of Ballyboughal BC, Dublin
57kg: Michaela Walsh, Emerald BC, Belfast
60kg: Kellie Harrington, St. Mary’s BC, Dublin
63kg: Amy Broadhurst, St. Bronagh’s ABC, Newry
66kg: Kaci Rock, Enniskerry BC, Wicklow
70kg: Christina Desmond, Dungarvan BC/Garda BC
75kg: Aoife O’Rourke, Olympic BC, Galway