Ireland’s current amateur ‘Golden Girl’ has secured Olympic bronze at the very least after another brilliantly assured performance in Tokyo this morning.
The darling of Dublin, Kellie Harrington guaranteed Ireland’s eighteenth Olympic boxing medal and became the seventeenth Irish boxer to secure a place on an Olympic podium by defeating Algerian Imane Khelif at the Kokugikan sumo wrestling arena.
A calm, collected, and classy Harrington was just too good for the emerging 22-year-old talent and won quite comfortably via a unanimous 5-0 scorecard.
Harrington looked in control from the off and built up the kind of lead that allowed her to enjoy herself in a final round full of smiles.
The victory and the medal seem just reward for a fighter that has been top of her game for some time now. The 2018 World Amateur champion now joins the list of Irish Olympic medal winners – a list that seems to matter most particularly in terms of amateur boxing – to secure her place in Irish sporting folklore.
The 31-year-old, who is now a EU, European, World and Olympic medal winner, also becomes only the second Irish female to medal at the Games, following in the footsteps of London 2012 trailblazer Katie Taylor onto the lightweight podium.
No doubt the St Mary’s Tallaght fighter will now look to upgrade and come home with more precious metal than bronze. Standing between Harrington and the gold medal fight is Sudaporn Seesondee of Thailand, a fighter she defeated to claim World Championship gold in 2018. Seesondee overcame Team GB hope Caroline Dubois in her quarter-final.
🥊RESULT🥊— IABA (@IABABOXING) August 3, 2021
SHE’S DONE IT! @Kelly64kg IS AN OLYMPIC MEDALLIST!
A top performance against a tricky opponent & she wins via unanimous decision v 🇩🇿
She now advances to the Semi-Final & guarantees herself at least a 🥉 medal!
Congrats Kellie!👏🇮🇪🥊#IABA #TeamIreland #Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/4lU1yoBNCf
Harrington, who beat Rebecca Nicoli in the Round of 16, managed to score during the feeling out period with quick flurries before making her an opponent miss and pay as the stanza progressed past the midway point. A more tentative minute or so followed but Harrington landed some clean combos in the last few seconds and took the round 4-1.
The last Irish boxer standing in Japan really found her range in second. She had the long and awkward Algerian figured out and walked her on to some crisp backhands. Khelif was marching forward but couldn’t inflict any real damage on the Irish star meaning Harrington went into the final stanza with a two-point cushion on four of the five judges’ score cards.
There were smiles and style in the final round as the confident switch-hitting Dubliner began to really enjoy herself. It wasn’t quite a ‘just stay out of trouble’ approach but the now Olympic medallist was able to fight within herself, still enjoy success and still take the round, eventually winning by a 30-27, 30-27, 30-27, 29-28.
Harrington joined the Black Eyed Peas in declaring ‘I Gotta Feeling’ after the final bell and tonight is certainly going to be a good night, as she can enjoy an Olympic medal win before having to switch her attention to the semi-final.
57kg Kurt Walker (Ireland) beat Jose Quiles (Spain) 5-0
81kg Emmet Brennan (Ireland) lost to Dilshod Ruzmetov (Uzbekistan) 0-5
52kg Brendan Irvine (Ireland) lost to Carlo Paalam (Philippines) 1-4
57kg Michaela Walsh (Ireland) lost to Irma Testa (Italy) 0-5
69kg Aidan Walsh (Ireland) beat Albert Menque (Cameroon) 5-0
75kg Aoife O’Rourke (Ireland) lost to Qian Li (China) 0-5
57kg Kurt Walker (Ireland) beat Mirazizbek Mitzakhalilov (Uzbekistan) 4-1
60kg Kellie Harrington (Ireland) beat Rebecca Nicoli (Italy) 5-0
69kg Aidan Walsh (Ireland) beat Mervin Clair (Mauritius) 4-1
57kg Kurt Walker (Ireland) lost to Duke Ragan (USA) 2-3
69kg Aidan Walsh (Ireland) lost to Pat McCormack (Great Britain) (W/O)
(Walsh sustains an ankle injury)