Kurt Walker is taking the ‘seeds are for planting’ approach into his last 16 Olympic clash.
The Canal BC fighter got Ireland’s Olympic boxing campaign off to a winning start in Tokyo in the early hours of Saturday morning.
The 26-year-old came out on top of a highly entertaining three-round fight with Jose Quiles Brotons. Walker’s reward for defeating the Spaniard fighter, was a fight with the gold medal favourite, reigning World Amateur Champion, and the #1 seed for the tournament, Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov.
It’s far from ideal and particularly harsh considering the Lisburn stylists opening foe but Walker isn’t feeling sorry for himself.
Indeed, those hoping for Mirzakhalilov Olympic medal success won’t be overly pleased with the draw he has been given considering the Irish fighter’s credentials. Walker agrees and argues it’s the Uzbek that should be worried.
“He has two arms and two legs like the rest of them. He needs to worry about me,” Walker told RTE after he registered an Olympic win.
The featherweight also suggested he goes into the fight with an advantage. Mirzakhalilov received a bye into the last 16 and Walker feels that can be a curse in disguise.
“I’ve the advantage, I have had a fight, I’ve been here and done it. I’ve had byes before and I wish I hadn’t got them. I’m confident anyway.”
While he responded to questions with regard to the challenge ahead with serious intent, there was a sense Walker was happy enough to be in the moment.
The decorated stylist thought he would miss his chance to become an Olympian and has been through some well-documented tough times of late, so to win a fight at a Games is extra special.
“I never thought I’d be an Olympian and now I’ve won an Olympic fight I’m just going to keep it going,” he said.
“I wouldn’t have been here with my daughter in the hospital, she’d have been just been born at the time of the second qualifier, I couldn’t of went, it was too early. I wouldn’t be here if wasn’t for [the delay]. It’s worked out well, this time last year I was out of shape, I never thought I would go to the Olympics and now I’m here one fight in.”
Ireland’s Kurt Walker emerged victorious from his preliminary round battle with Spain’s Jose Brotons in the featherweight division#RTESport #Olympics #Tokyo2020— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) July 24, 2021
Watch live – https://t.co/XnOP6gIYsF
Live updates – https://t.co/wDRRSpzY7U pic.twitter.com/tEDFzNmsOS
Reflecting on what was a tough fight, that saw one of Ireland’s most consistent sports stars in recent years show every part of his arsenal, Walker said: “He is very good, he’s experienced, he’s been about the same time I’ve been about and he’s won stuff.
“He came out flying in the second and gave me a good test. I had to dig deep in the third,” he adds before revealing what it was like to be the first out.
“There are nerves, first person to get out, it’s been a long camp and I’m just buzzing to go again.”
‘Two arms, two legs- he needs to worry about me!’@KurtWalker7 tells @sportsdes he does not fear his next opponent, Uzbek Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov#tokyo2020 #olympics #rtesport— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) July 24, 2021
📺Watch live – https://t.co/b2OI4OoWVJ
📱 Report – https://t.co/hRgZ2tWb6R pic.twitter.com/gkCe8GkniT
Next up for Ireland is Emmet Brennan, the Dublin Docklandss light heavyweight takes on World Championships silver medallist Dilshod Ruzmetov, another Uzbek, on Sunday July 25 at the more reasonable hour of 12:45pm.