GOLDEN GIRL – Brilliant Ava Henry wins European GOLD

It was leaps of joy rather than dancing this time around as Ava Henry won gold in Italy today.

The fighter who broke out a Saturday Night by Whigfield party piece after a semi-final victory on Sunday just shot skyward when her hand was raised after a quality packed final.

The Dublin Docklands fighter produced one of the greatest international final displays by an underage Irish boxer to go one better than she did at the European Schools Championships in Tribilsi in 2019.

Henry was crowned European Junior Championships lightweight queen after defeating Kinga Krowka in Montelsilvano a victory she had to come from behind to secure.

The Dublin teen lost the first round, which according to statistics would suggest she’d lost the fight, however, she wasn’t one for laying down and gave two fingers to the numbers by turning the fight around.

A bullish second round saw her go into the last with a slender lead and she won enough points in the fourth to pip a tense decider 3-2.

The Docklands fighter tried to establish her dominance early against the southpaw and was the more active of the two. However, she did walk onto some brilliantly timed Krowka shots, shots that allowed her opponent win the round 4-1.

The doctor was called in twice to look at the Polish fighter’s nose in the second stanza and buoyed by the fact a possible stoppage was on the cards Henry moved through the gears. She applied educated but relentless pressure and hammered home some hurt backhands.

Such was her display she won the round across the board meaning she went into the last level on four cards and up on one.

Krowka had found her composure again and was picking quality punches in the last stanza but Henry wasn’t going to be denied. She pressed and pressed in a real who wants it more final round, showing enough quality to complete a rare come-from-behind win.

Grace Conway was also in action today but comes home with silver after losing to England’s Catherine Pumphery in a very entertaining final. Niamh Keogh suffered a similar fate in the 54kg final and also against English opposition in Ella-Mae Lonsdale. Keogh have it a real go but the latest Irish Pocket Rocket was beaten by much taller opposition.

Team Ireland Squad

Male Boxers:

1. 44-46kg Alfie Jordan (Olympic L)

2. 48kg Jamie Collins (Drimnagh)

3. 50kg Calvin Doyle (Olympic L)

4. 52kg Johnny Harty (Portlaoise)

5. 54kg James Kelly (Holy Trinity)

6. 57kg Callum Carrager (Tredagh)

7. 60kg Ryan Jenkins (Olympic L)

8. 63kg Cillian Reilly (Jobstown)

9. 66kg Tadhg O’Donnell (Four Kings)

10. 70kg Charlie Valbergs (Cherry Orchard). Team Captain

11. 75kg Dylan McShane (St Pauls A)

12. 80kg Jack Teggart Weatherall (St Pauls A)

13. 80+kg Adam Olaniyan (Jobstown)

Female Boxers

1. 44-46kg Sophie Curley Gray (Dealgan)

2. 50kg Grace Conway (Tredagh)

3. 52kg Carlagh Peake (Ballyhaunis)

4. 54kg Niamh Keogh (Olympic L)

5. 57kg Siofra Lawless (Liberty)

6. 60kg Ava Henry (Docklands) Team Captain,

7. 63kg Kayleigh Whelan (Avona)

8. 66kg Sarah Murphy (St Brigids L)

9. 70kg Jodie Byrne (St Teresa’s)

10. 75kg Mary McDonagh (Sliabh Luachra)

11. 80kg Shauna Crehan (Dunboyne)

Team Manager

Martin Fennessy

Coaches

1. Ralph McKay

2. Liam Cunningham

3. Paul O’Toole

4. Linda Morgan

Referee/Judge

Philip Hollowed

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 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: editoririshboxing@gmail.com