Carly McNaul moved to within one win of a European Championship medal with an extremely impressive performance in Montenegro today.
The Commonwealth Games silver medal winner progressed to the flyweight quarterfinals thanks to a one-sided win over Ana Alexandra Gheorghe of Romania.
The Ormeau Road talent dominated from start to finish, dishing out two standing eight counts across the three rounds, as she maintained her impressive 2022 form.
So commanding was the flyweight that she won two cards as wide as 30-25, one 30-26 while the other two were granted to her 30-27.
The victory was McNaul’s sixth in major international tournaments this year and leaves her just one step away from the European podium.
One of Irish boxing’s form fighters started impressively. The Belfast 52kg operator fought small, got in under opponents’ shots and countered aggressively.
McNaul stalked for the majority of the round and really benefited from that constant pressure in the last minute, as she punished the Romanian anytime she retreated to the ropes in search of the break.
Before the stanza was done she was landing big hurtful shots. forcing the referee to step in and hand Gheorghe a standing eight.
The second round was similar, although there was more variety to the work and more by way of combinations. McNaul had her eye in by this stage and was enjoying an equally aggressive but a lot more fluid approach.
With a place in the next round effectively secured McNaul went into the last round knowing a safety-first approach would be good enough to see her progress.
However, ‘The Wrecking Ball’ doesn’t take rounds off and she continued to press forward and dish out punishment. Granted it was a bit more relaxed and she seemed to use the stanza to practice making her opponent fall short before firing back, whilst following orders from John Conlan in the corner, but it was dominant nonetheless.
Commonwealth Games champion, Micheala Walsh, is up next for Ireland as she takes on France’s Amina Zidani later in the afternoon session.
Olympic Champion Kellie Harrington takes 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