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Gráinne Walsh – “Now I’m aiming for the podium and nothing less”

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While it was perhaps unintentionally overshadowed by the heroics of Kelly Harrington, the World Championships earlier this year saw the coming of age of a potential new Irish boxing star.

Offaly welterweight Gráinne Walsh made the quarter finals in Kazakhstan, only to fall in her medal bout with home fighter Valentina Khalzova, being stopped due to a pre-existing nose injury in the second round.

The Spartacus fighter however has been invigorated by her displays in Central Asia, and goes into the European Championships next week in Bulgaria brimming with confidence.

The Tullamore puncher spoke to and explained how “I’m feeling much more confident for the European Championships in comparison to the Worlds. I’ve been training and improving ever since and I feel great.”

“I have a totally different mindset going into the Europeans. I just wanted to gain experience at the Worlds, but now I’m aiming for the podium and nothing less. The worlds was an amazing experience and it has shown me that I can battle with the best in the World.”

“I don’t want anything less than a medal at these Europeans.”

Recalling her loss in Astana, Walsh admits that “it was mixed emotions. Obviously it was heartbreaking to come so close to a medal and it’s snatched away at the last second – especially when it was my nose bleeding that stopped the fight!”

“The girl that beat me won the gold medal so she was a top class opponent. I learned so much from the whole experience at the world championships and I really grew as a boxer. It was great to be one of the last 3 from team Ireland left in the competition but was disappointing not to go further than the quarter finals.”

“Nobody expected anything from me, I was a total underdog. But I have put my name out there now and hope I can go a step further in the Europeans.”

Walsh has become a woman possessed over the past few months. Her talent and potential now undoubtedly confirmed, the Midlander described how “I’m dedicating my life to this.”

The 21 year old outlined how “I’ve been working really hard for these Europeans, sacrificed a lot and it’s all a plan for what’s to come in the future too.”

“Each competition means so much and is a stepping stone to the next stage. I know now that I can compete and beat some of the best in the world, I just need to show it.”

“We have been in Dublin for the past four weekends on training camp, learning lots and working hard. We also took part in a training camp in the English Institute of Sport last week in Sheffield. It was great for us to get top class sparring and was the final week of intense training.”

“I’m feeling fully fit and confident. It’s an exciting time for me!”

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on, Boxing News,, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: