Kelly Harrington eliminated from Euros following Potkonen thriller


Kelly Harrington has bowed out of the European Championships this afternoon following a valiant loss in Sofia.

The Dubliner was defeated by Mira Potkonen – the Olympic conqueror of Katie Taylor – in the semi-finals in Bulgaria

A tired-looking Harrington had come undone versus the Nordic fighter in last year’s EU final but it was a completely different type of fight this afternoon with the Irishwoman being edged out on a split-decision following a thrilling clash.

Harrington started fast, popping out straight shots from the opening bell before a chess match developed with both boxers taking turns to try and raid into range.

A sensational second round saw Harrington enjoy a fantastic first minute, bobbing, weaving, and unleashing scoring combinations. The squatter Potkonen, however, was finding herself in range more and more and hit home with her fair share of powerful shots as the round progressed. Harrington, though, stood strong in the face of the Finnish slugger and was able to hold her own in the exchanges of an engrossing stanza.

Following the fireworks of the second, it was cagier in the final round with both fighters sending single straight shots before a tense final minute with both looking to land a closing eye-catching blow, Potkonen perhaps edging the proceedings

The final bell rang and the pair fell into each other’s arms following an epic contest with no clear winner. Going to the cards it was Potkonen confirmed as the victor who will now go onto the final, with Harrington accepting the decision gracefully.

The Northside slickster will return from Bulgaria with European bronze, her third major international medal.

Michaela Walsh will look to make it to the featherweight final at 4:30pm (Irish time) today. The Belfast fighter is guaranteed a bronze and will look to upgrade versus Daria Abramova. The Russian is the reigning European champion at lightweight having defeated Potkonen in the 2016 final before stepping down in weight.

European Women’s Elite Championships Sofia, Bulgaria

Tuesday June 5th
Last 32
57kg Michaela Walsh (Ireland) beat Karriss Artingstal (England) 5-0

Wednesday June 6th
Last 16
57kg Michaela Walsh (Ireland) beat Alessia Mesiano (Italy) 5-0

Thursday June 7th
Last 16
60kg Kelly Harrington (Ireland) beat Katerina Humlova (Czech Republic) 5-0
69kg Grainne Walsh (Ireland) lost to Yaroslava Yakushina (Russia) 0-5

Friday June 8th
Quarter-finals
57kg Michaela Walsh (Ireland) beat Galina Bruyevich (Belarus) 3-2

Saturday June 9th
60kg Kelly Harrington (Ireland) beat Iulia Tsyplakova (Ukraine) 4-1

Monday June 11th
Semi-finals
60kg Kelly Harrington (Ireland) lost to Mira Potkonen (Finland) Split
57kg Michaela Walsh (Ireland) v Daria Abramova (Russia)

Irish squad
57kg Michaela Walsh (Monkstown)
60kg Kelly Harrington (St Mary’s)
69kg Grainne Walsh (Sparticus)

Team Manager: Bernard Dunne
Head Coach: Zaur Antia
Coach: Dmitry Dmitruk
Physio: Muireann Harte

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie