Carl Frampton backs Kurt Walker for Tokyo Olympics following EU gold medal win


Carl Frampton has backed Kurt Walker for the Olympics in 2020 following the Lisburn talent’s sensational EU Championships will earlier this month.

The Ulster bantam claimed a glorious gold in Valladolid following four wins in Spain – including a final triumph over reigning European and Commonwealth champion Peter McGrail.

Walker had lost his previous two fights to the Englishman but put on a strong tactical performance to claim the scalp.

Two-weight world champion Frampton feels the gold – Walker’s first major medal at senior level following bronze at the Europeans and silver at the Commonwealths – will spur the talented 23-year-old onto the Olympics in Tokyo.

Writing in his weekly column for the Sunday Life, described how “Lisburn’s Kurt Walker pulled off a brilliant win at the EU Championships and he can now start dreaming of making it to the 2020 Olympics.”

“Walker defeated the reigning European champion Peter McGrail in the bantamweight final, someone who had beaten him before and will have his own hopes of an Olympic medal.”

The win for the Canal BC graduate also pleased Frampton who is close with members of the club.

“It’s a big boost for Walker and I’m delighted for the guys at the Canal club, Jim Russell and Noel Reynolds, who regularly comes round to my house for a cup of tea,” said ‘The Jackal’ before jokingly taking credit for the medal.

“It must have been those tips I was giving Noel that paid off with EU gold for Kurt!”

Walker suffered a broken thumb in the final and his participation in the Irish Senior Championships next February is in doubt.

However, the rising star is expected to feature in the European Championships/Games in Minsk next summer which should kick off the qualifying process for the Olympics. Going by previous years, as the qualifiying process is still to be confirmed, the Europeans will lead into the World Championships in Russia next Autumn where Olympic spots will be on offer before further qualifiers in 2020.

Walker’s class, bantamweight, is also set to increase from 56kg to the old featherweight limit of 57kg, a shift upwards that would seem to benefit the Irishman.

dpg

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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