Kurt Walker remains confident he will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.
The Canal BC featherweight had a great chance to book his place on the plane to Tokyo just before the European Olympic qualifiers were suspended last week.
However, he failed to follow in the footsteps of Irish team captain Brendan Irvine losing in a straight shootout for a coveted Olympic spot to German slickster Hamsat Shadalov.
The defeat means the genuine Olympic medal hope has one more chance to reach the 34th Olympiad and will have to qualify via the World qualification competition – and he remains confident he will do just that.
“I wouldn’t be much of an athlete if I couldn’t take the losses on the chin, the team I have behind me are one the best in the world and I’m still confident of qualifying. I know a number of boxers who never qualified the first go and went on to do alright,” said Walker before claiming the defeat reduces rather than increases the pressure.
“If anything I think there will be less [pressure]. Sometimes people think after you win something big then you can’t be beat, I just want to go out there and show how good I am like before and I’m confident I’ll qualify.”
As a EU, European Championships, and Commonwealth Games medalist, Walker was expected to defeat his German opponent in the important fight. The Lisburn puncher admits as much himself, but accepts he didn’t perform on a day his opponent did.
“To be honest I would be [expected to beat him] on paper, but anyone who knows boxing knows it’s not as easy as that. Anything can happen on any day I haven’t watched the fight back with my coaches yet to see where I went wrong, but looking back on it personally I think it’s one of them things were it was one of his best days and one of my worst.”
One theory put out there post the surprise reverse was the German’s Irish coach, Eddie Bolger, had Walker knowledge and as a result a game plan to beat him.
Walker doesn’t believe that was the case claiming his recent success would mean every potential rival would study him and every foe would raise their game against him.
“I don’t think so,” he responds when asked about Germany’s Irish inside.
“At this stage of my career, after doing what I’ve done over the past 18 months I think that’s one of the only negatives you can take from winning mostly everything every boxer wants to beat you and every boxer knows your style, whereas for me it’s the complete opposite new people are coming on the scene who I never seen before,” he adds before stressing he is putting the sporting defeat into context during this difficult time.
“I am not feeling too bad now to be honest, obviously I’m still disappointed but coming back home and seeing all this other stuff going on reminds me it’s just a sport at the end of the day.”
When the Olympics will eventually play out remains out up in the air. There is talk it may be put back to 2021 while others are suggesting 2022 may be the year to host the global event. Regardless of when it plays out Walker claims he won’t look to go professional while he has a chance of qualifying.
“To be honest I’ll not looking that far ahead. I just want to get back training after we get the all clear then take it from there, I’ve always wanted to be an Olympian and I’m confident that I will be.”