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Golden Boy- Kurt Walker wins European Games gold

Kurt Walker is European Games champion.

The Canal BC graduate won gold with victory in Minsk this morning.

Walker performed brilliantly to secure an unanimous decision victory over Ukranian Mykola Butsenko and pick up Ireland’s first gold medal of the Olympic style tournament. 

The 24 year old looked sensational in parts of the first round and opened a cut over eye of the decorated Ukrainian. The second round was a close affair, but most argued Walker took the third.

Those that matter most  scored it 29-28, 30-27, 30-27, 29-28, 30-27 meaning Walker backed up his semi final victory over the #1 seed with victory over the #4 seed to became European Games gold medalist in the 56kg category.

It’s the polar opposite to his last appearance in the tournament where he exited on day one.

Butsenko and Walker had previous coming in, with the Ukrainian having won their meeting in the 2017 European semis – where he would subsequently lose to Peter McGrail in the final. A Rio Olympian, Butsenko also won World bronze and European silver in 2013 – losing to a certain John Joe Nevin in the latter.

Butsenko, the second seed to Walker’s fourth, defeated Azeri Tayfur Aliyev, Belarussian home favourite Nikalai Shakh, and German Sharafa Raman en-route to the decider. Walker, on the other hand, came through Armenian Zhirayr Sargsyan, Frenchman Samuel Kistohurry, and old rival McGrail.

Hours previously it was confirmed that Kelly Harrington will take home silver after being withdrawn from her lightweight final versus Finnish rival Mira Potkonen due to a thumb injury.

Following the conclusion of the boxing tournament Ireland will take home bronze from Michael Nevin, Gráinne Walsh, and Regan Buckley, silver via Michaela Walsh and Harrington and gold from Walker.


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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