Kellie Harrington is the champion of the Olympic Games! Kellie Harrington is the champion of the Olympic Games!
The Dublin lightweight won gold this morning in Tokyo following an epic at the Kokugikan Arena, joining Michael Carruth and Katie Taylor in Irish boxing history.
Harrington outpointed Brazilian beast Beatriz Ferreira over three high-octane rounds, having too much skill for the reigning world champion, boxing her way to the top of the podium.
Following straightforward wins over Italian Rebecca Nicoli and Algerian Imane Khelif, Harrington edged Thai rival Sudaporn Seesondee in a repeat of the 2018 world final. However, her Brazil foe presented a completely different test. It was perhaps the most difficult exam of her career but one she passed with flying colours.
Ferreira had beaten Taiwanese and Uzbek opposition before dominating Finnish bogeywoman Mira Potkonen to book her place in this morning’s final. The dominant force on the international scene across the last three years, she presented a monumental mountain for Harrington to climb.
While Ferreira had the reputation as a relentless machine, the first was a tactical enough affair. The Brazilian’s noted power was evident whenever she did land in exchanges but the gorgeous hooks of Harrington were also finding a home. It was not, however, enough to convince a majority of judges with Ferreira going 3-2 up after the opener.
Playing matador to Brazilian bull in a sensational second, Harrington countered and timed Ferreira with aplomb. A huge three minutes, the Dubliner took all five cards and a chorus of ‘olé, olé, olé’ rang out around the sumo wrestling arena.
20-18 up on two cards, Harrington ‘just’ needed to win the third on one of the three level cards to take the final. A closer round, with Harrington’s legs slowing, Feirreia and warnings from the Sri Lankan referee giving Irish onlookers heart failure, it went to the wire.
‘And the winner, by unanimous decision….’
📺 Watch live – https://t.co/IpdMKF55tD
— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) August 8, 2021
We went to the cards with every finger and toe in the country crossed, ‘Unanimous Decision’ was announced which gave away the verdict and Harrington was confirmed OLYMPIC CHAMPION seconds later.
The St Mary’s boxer actually won the decider on all five cards – meaning a 30-27 x3, 29-28 x2 final total – but figures were not on anyone’s mind as a shell-shocked Harrington sunk to the canvas.
A famous moment in Irish boxing and sporting history, Harrington has won just the EIGHTH legitimate Olympic gold medal for this little island.
The Irish boxing team will return home from Japan with two medals – Harrington’s glorious gold and Aidan Walsh’s welterweight bronze. A good Games, all things considered.