Disappointing final day for Irish boxers at Commonwealth Games


The Irish boxers out in Australia were left disappointed this morning, with all six finalists losing their gold medal bouts on the final day of the Commonwealth Games.

It had been a great week on the Gold Coast with plenty of precious metal plundered but between scoring, how the fights played out, and just general superior opponents, the Northern Irish team will return home with a half-dozen silvers.

First up was West Belfast light flyweight Kristina O’Hara who faced Indian fight legend Mary Kom. The pair had boxed in an exhibition in Dublin last year and O’Hara was not overawed by the occasion here. It was a competitive contest but Kom, who is expected to retire following these Games, took a deserved win.

Immediately after this, East Belfast flyweight Carly McNaul lost out to England’s Lisa Whiteside. The popular puncher dragged Whiteside into a war and, while the Englishwoman won through with eye-catching left hooks, she certainly knew she had been in a fight come the final bell with the relentless McNaul never stopping pushing.

The final fight of the morning session, Brendan Irvine was left extremely disappointed, dropping a 4-1 split to Indian Gaurav Solanki. The Belfast flyweight started slow and finished strong but the Indian deserved the nod – although not by the ridiculous 30-25 scoreline from the Fijian judge.

The big controversy came in the evening session, with featherweight Michaela Walsh losing to home favourite Skye Nicolson. An intensely cagey and messy encounter, Walsh looked to have been the aggressor throughout and landed the more eye-catching shots. However, with 29-28s across the board, Nicolson claimed a 3-2 split win.

Lisburn’s Kurt Walker lost a third successive split in the bantamweight final, falling 4-1 in a technical fight with European champion Peter McGrail. Walker looked to have no issue with the final result, with the classy McGrail landing slightly the better punches, and will know in himself that he is right up at the highest level.

Finally, it was the turn of welterweight Aidan Walsh who, like his sister, was left disappointed. The Monkstown youngster took on Pat McCormack and looked to have edged a quiet first, circling and countering, but was outworked by the English talent in the second and third.

While there was no luck today, the team still had a hugely successful tournament and will return with an impressive eight medals – the six silvers confirmed this morning and bronzes for Steven Donnelly and James McGivern.

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie