“I Fully Believe” – Kurt Walker confident ahead of medal bout with American pro

Kurt Walker BELIEVES going into his once in a life time medal fight this coming Sunday.

The Canal BC bboxer is full of confidence after beating featherweight gold medal favourite and reigning World Champion, Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov, in the last 16 of the Olympic Games in Tokyo this morning.

Walker shocked the Uzbek to set a winner-takes-bronze-at-least showdown with the Billy Walsh-trained American Duke Ragan on Sunday – and having cemented his status as a world-level operator he can’t see why he can’t pass another stiff test.

“My confidence is through the roof. There’s always doubts in your head before the fight, but these boys believed in me. Even the teammates, they believed for some reason that I was going to win. I believed it so much too, and it’s happened,” he said after the fight.

“I fully believe now, and I think that belief will take me through.”

Speaking after a win that will be remembered as one of the Irish Olympic greats, the delighted 26-year-old Lisburn stylist admitted it was a career highlight, but pointed out it’s a highlight that could be replaced by Sunday.

“It’s indescribable, I just need to get my head level again, try relax and recover, but I’m buzzing.”

“That will be hard-topped unless I win a medal. Beating the world champion on the biggest stage is the highlight of my career, it’s fairy tale stuff. “

“This is definitely the highlight of my career but if I win [the quarter-final], that will be a highlight that will be hard to beat.”

Reflecting on the game plan for what was billed as a daunting task, Walker explained his mission was to keep the aggressive puncher at bay and to put all he had into doing that over the first two rounds.

“My tactics were just to try and keep him off by feigning and working the jab. I knew I was fit, so I definitely could do it for two rounds anyway and get two rounds up which I did. I knew he was going to push on strong. I’m delighted.”

“I knew he would be relentless and I knew it was going to be a tough fight, but I have a big heart and I knew I would dig deep,” he adds before gleefully sharing his success with the coaches Zaur Antia and John Conlan.

“We have the best coaches in the world. I was delighted to see them so happy because it brings me on.”

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