Caitlin Fryers‘ celebration mimicked her performance. Ireland’s latest European Championships medal winner didn’t just punch the air with delight, she cut the atmosphere with a quick-fire combo, as she was confirmed a quarter-final winner in Budva today.
The Belfast 52kg fighter produced another trademark all-action display to claim European Championship bronze at the very least and a first Major International medal this afternoon.
The decorated underage graduate is now doing it on the big stage, beating the best Bulgaria has to offer at the weight to earn the right to fight for silver.
The Mac Woman was afforded a 3-2 split decision win over Zlatislava Chukanova but she all but took the last round off and won the fight more comfortable than the card suggests.
The win means Ireland now boasts five European Championship medal winners as Fryers joined Shannon Sweeney, Michaela Walsh, Amy Broadhurst, and Christina Desmond as a final four fighter.
As is the norm when it comes to Fryers there was no feeling out process, she started as she meant to go on, working her way in and letting shots go. In Chukanova she found an opponent willing to fight and the Bulgarian held her feet for the first half of the stanza. It meant both took shots but the Belfast fighter’s punches looked the more damaging, particularly her overhand right. Still, it was a hard-to-score stanza reflected in the fact it went 3-2 in favour of the Irish fighter.
The second was similar, although the Bulgarian did look to use her reach advantage more and found a distance that more suited her skillset. However, Fryers found a way to get in and out to good effect and let punches in bunches go when in range, which lead to her winning the round across the board and putting one foot on the podium.
The Pocket Rocket showed she has more than a blast forward mode in the last as she used her skillset to try and avoid any last-minute slip-up. The cheek left hook used by so many of her teammates was out, she was fainting and using the ring. Chukanova was piling forward, meaning the Immaculata fighter did have to let her hands go at times, but that is second nature to her. She lost the round 3-2 but the heavy lifting had already been done.
Three more Irish fighters are in quarter-final action today.
reigning Olympic lightweight champ, Kellie Harrington, meets England’s, Shona Whitwell for a medal in the last fight of the afternoon session.
Team Ireland Squad
48kg: Shannon Sweeney, St. Anne’s, Mayo
50kg: Caitlin Fryers, Immaculata BC, Belfast
52kg: Carly McNaul, Ormeau Road BC, Belfast
54kg: Niamh Fay, Phoenix of Ballyboughal BC, Dublin
57kg: Michaela Walsh, Emerald BC, Belfast
60kg: Kellie Harrington, St. Mary’s BC, Dublin
63kg: Amy Broadhurst, St. Bronagh’s ABC, Newry
66kg: Kaci Rock, Enniskerry BC, Wicklow
70kg: Christina Desmond, Dungarvan BC/Garda BC
75kg: Aoife O’Rourke, Olympic BC, Galway