Kurt Walker guaranteed a bronze at European Championships this afternoon in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
The Ulster bantam defeated Italian Raffaele Di Serio on a split decision to reach the semi finals.
The fight was a repeat of the pair’s European U22 Championships last 16 clash earlier in the year. Walker was a late call-up to the team that time, and dropped a 4-1 split to the talented Italian, who was defeated by Englishman Peter McGrail in the quarters.
This time round however Walker would get stronger throughout the bout and claim his first major medal, and Ireland’s 50th ever European medal.
A cagey first saw Walker be the aggressor. Little of note was landed by either, although the cleaner counter punching by Di Serio was perhaps the more eye-catching.
A brilliant second from the Canal talent saw Walker land frequently with the backhand.
Walker came on strong in the decisive final round, landing big shots and wobbling Di Serio.
Going to the cards, Walker was awarded the bout on a 3:1 split
Walker will now face European silver and World bronze winner, and home favourite, Mykola Butsenko on Friday afternoon.
European Elite Men’s Championships Kharkiv, Ukraine June 14th/25th
64kg Sean McComb (Ireland) beat Erik Agateljan (Czech Republic) 5-0
56kg Kurt Walker (Ireland) beat Severiane Childaze (Georgia) 5-0
69kg Steven Donnelly (Ireland) lost to Sergei Sobylinski (Russia) 0-5
60kg Pat Mongan (Ireland) lost to Artur Bril (Germany) 0-5
75kg Emmet Brennan (Ireland) beat Bartosz Golebiewski (Poland) 3-2
52kg Brendan Irvine (Ireland) beat Bathuhan Citfci (Turkey) 5-0
60kg Sean McComb (Ireland) beat Vitaly Dunaystev (Russia) 3-2
91kg+ Dean Gardiner (Ireland) lost to Viktor Vykhryst (Ukraine) TKO2
56kg Kurt Walker (Ireland) beat Tayfur Aliyev (Azerbaijan) 4-1
75kg Emmet Brennan (Ireland) lost to Kamran Shakhsuvarly (Azerbaijan) 0-5
81kg Joe Ward (Ireland) beat Matus Strnisko (Slovakia) 5-0
91kg Darren O’Neill (Ireland) lost to Ramazazaqn Musilimov (Ukraine) 1-4
52kg Brendan Irvine (Ireland) v Gabriel Escobar (Spain)
56kg Kurt Walker (Ireland) beat Raffaele Di Serio (Italy) 3-1
64kg Sean McComb (Ireland) v Luke McCormack (England)
81kg Joe Ward (Ireland) v Sean Lazzerini (Scotland)
52kg – Flyweight – Brendan Irvine (St Pauls)
56kg – Bantamweight – Kurt Walker (Canal)
60kg – Lightweight – Patrick Mongan (Olympic)
64kg – Light-welter – Sean McComb (Holy Trinity)
69kg – Welterweight – Steven Donnelly (All Saints)
75kg – Middleweight – Emmett Brennan (Glasnevin)
81kg – Light-heavy – Joe Ward (Moate)
91kg – Heavyweight – Darren O’Neill (Paulstown)
91+kg – Super-heavy – Dean Gardiner (Clonmel)
High-Performance Director/Head of Delegation: Bernard Dunne
Head Coach: Zaur Antia
Coaches: Dmitry Dimitruc, Jimmy Payne, Eoin Pluck
Physio: Seamus Caffrey
Doctor: Jim Clover
Strength & Conditioning: John Cleary
Performance Analysis: Alan Swanton
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)