The champagne remains on ice, but only because Kurt Walker is being extra precautionary.
As explained by Irish-Boxing.com earlier this week, the Canal BC talent has become Ireland’s latest Olympian.
The pandemic-enforced reshuffling of the qualification process dealt Walker an ace and – barring another change to the process – he will join fellow Belfast boxer Brendan Irvine on the plane to Tokyo.
Walker has himself done the maths, is confident he is now officially an Olympian, but just can’t bring himself to celebrate in case two plus two somehow makes five this time around.
Speaking to irish-boxing.com he raised his hand like a boxer who was in no doubt he had won a fight, but was awaiting the scorecards worried the judges might unjustly snatch victory away.
“I do consider myself qualified but I’m still not fully celebrating yet I want to see it in writing,” a cautious Walker told Irish-Boxing.com.
Continuing with that qualification confidence to caution theme, Walker argues his ranking makes him a cert to go to Tokyo, but again suggests nothing is certain until it’s in writing from the International Olympic Committee’s Boxing Task Force.
“No, I haven’t had any official contact yet but like yourselves I’ve done the research and there is no way I can be caught, but I still have to wait to they confirm it.”
Upon hearing the World Qualifying tournament had been dropped, Walker admits he feared the worst. However, his dream didn’t remain shattered for too long, as upon hearing ranking would be taken into account he knew he was a shoe in.
“Once I found out the world qualifiers were cancelled about a minute later I found out I was more than likely going to be at the Olympics so I was scared for a minute or two,” he smiles.
Most expected the genuine Olympic medal hope to walk to qualification via the European route last march, but he suffered a surprising defeat in his first fight to unheralded German Hamsat Shadalov.
Walker looked set to have to navigate his way through a second qualifying tournament if he was to realise his Olympic dream, but he has benefited from the pandemic enforced alterations.
Still, he argues as one of the best at his weight in the world over the last two years, he more than deserves his spot.
The featherweight who has won EU Championships, European Games, European Championships, Commonwealth, European Youth and World Youth medals explains how “100 percent I fully deserve to be at the Olympics. I’ve been very consistent over the past few years and if it wasn’t for my wins I wouldn’t been where I am now,” he adds before suggesting he can go from Olympian to Olympic medalist.
“I believe on my day I can beat anyone so I’m really looking forward to them.”