Kellie Harrington set up a mouthwatering Olympic shootout with professional world boxing champion Maiva Hamadouche with victory in Paris tonight.
The World Championship gold medal winner was too classy for Poland’s Aneta Rygielska whom she had already beaten this year – and boxed her way to a whitewash 30-27 on all five judges’ scorecards win.
The victory means the St Marys fighter is just a win away from a spot on the plane to Tokyo, but standing between her and one of the six Olympic spots available in Paris is the reigning IBF super featherweight pro champion Hamadouche of France.
The French fighter, a veteran of 20 plus pro fights, progressed to the quarter finals after defeating Marija Malenica in an all action bout. Harrington does have a box-off fall back and if she loses in the already eagerly anticipated clash with Hamadouche she can attempt to qualify by fighting another last eight losers.
However, the World ranking safety net that allowed Kurt Walker to reach the Games was taken away from the Sherrif stylist after Finn Mira Potkonen exited the tournament at the gloves of Caroline Dubios.
The Pole tried to force the issue early on but Harrington’s class was apparent, particularly when she switched back to southpaw. She began to punish the aggression of her foe with some clean shots.
The following two rounds followed a similar pattern and the Inner City Dub managed to secure victory without having to breakout of second gear.
The win means Ireland enjoyed a perfect start to the tournament restart. Five wins from five left Harrington, Michaela Walsh, Aidan Walsh, Emmett Brennan and Aoife O’Rourke all just one win away from the Olympic promised land.