MEDAL ALERT: Michaela Walsh guarantees brilliant bronze at European Championships


Michaela Walsh guaranteed herself a bronze medal at the European Championships in Bulgaria this evening.

The Belfast featherweight defeated Helina Bruyevich of Belarus in the last eight of the continental tournament in Sofia.

Walsh had faced the same opponent in 2014, defeating her in the opening round of the 2014 World Championships in South Korea, scoring a unanimous decision win, and it was the same result here with the Monkstown talent outboxing her Eastern European opponent.

The Belarussian began on the front foot, looping in big overhand rights which were largely avoided by the free-flowing Walsh. The Belfast talent began to up her work-rate in the closing minute, spinning off with sweeping hooks.

The rangier Walsh kept the jab in Bruyevich’s face into the second and began to mix in right-hand counters as she continued to box well.

Bruyevich, chasing the fight, began the final round by landing a huge left hook but Walsh quickly regained her composure, boxing at range and popping off counters before going toe-to-toe in the final moments of the round.

Going to the cards, Walsh was confirmed to be a winner – although the split-decision verdict baffled the Irishwoman.

The bronze, which she will look to upgrade this weekend, is Walsh’s fourth major medal and her third in three tournaments following EU bantamweight gold last year in Italy and a silver at the Commonwealth Games in Australia less than two months ago.

Walsh will face Daria Abramova in the semi-finals. The Russian is the reigning European lightweight champion – beating Katie Taylor’s Olympic defeator Mira Potkonen in the 2016 final – and has stepped down to featherweight.

Dublin lightweight Harrington will look to join Walsh on the podium tomorrow when she faces experienced Ukrainian Iulia Tsyplakova.

Ireland’s other fighter, Offaly welter Grainne Walsh, was eliminated last night by Russian former underage star Yaroslava Yakushina.

European Women’s Elite Championships Sofia, Bulgaria

Tuesday June 5th
Last 32
57kg Michaela Walsh (Ireland) beat Karriss Artingstal (England) 5-0

Wednesday June 6th
Last 16
57kg Michaela Walsh (Ireland) beat Alessia Mesiano (Italy) 5-0

Thursday June 7th
Last 16
60kg Kelly Harrington (Ireland) beat Katerina Humlova (Czech Republic) 5-0
69kg Grainne Walsh (Ireland) lost to Yaroslava Yakushina (Russia) 0-5

Friday June 8th
Quarter-finals
57kg Michaela Walsh (Ireland) beat Galina Bruyevich (Belarus) SPLIT

Saturday June 9th
60kg Kelly Harrington (Ireland) v Iulia Tsyplakova (Ukraine)

Semi-finals
57kg Michaela Walsh (Ireland) v Daria Abramova (Russia)

Irish squad
57kg Michaela Walsh (Monkstown)
60kg Kelly Harrington (St Mary’s)
69kg Grainne Walsh (Sparticus)

Team Manager: Bernard Dunne
Head Coach: Zaur Antia
Coach: Dmitry Dmitruk
Physio: Muireann Harte

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