MEDAL UPGRADE – Amy Broadhurst secures silver (at least)

Amy Broadhurst upgraded European Championships bronze to silver in Budva today.

One of the stars of the tournament in Montengro, produced another quality performance to progress to the final, beating Croat Sara Beram in a hard fought semi.

The reigning World Champion never looked like losing and was in control throughout, but her game and awkward foe did make sure she had to fight for the nine minutes to get the win.

Brilliant Broadhurst won every round to become the first Irish fighter into Saturday’s finals and now looks to secure a top podium finish in her favourite tournament.

The Irish talent has won five European gold medals across the age groups and will now look to make it six by winning her first Elite senior Continental gold. A win tomorrow would also see her complete a unique World, European and Commonwealth hat trick.

It was clear Beram came to fight from the first bell and wasn’t overawed by the reigning world champion.

However, you need more than just effort against a talent such as Broadhurst. The Louth fighter was happy to hold her feet and let her foe come forward, walking her onto some solid shots in the process.

The second was similar with neither shying away from a fight and the boxing skills of Broadhurst the more obvious admid a battle.

The World Champions body punching again eye catching and she produced all the clean work as she took another stanza across the board. Broadhurst put on a bit of a show in the third showing all her skills as she reaced a third major final of the year.

Reigning Commonwealth Games champion Michaela Walsh will have to settle for bronze after being foiled by Imra Testa again.

The giant for the weight Italian knocked the Belfast favourite out of the Tokyo Olympic games and repeated the feat at the semi final stage of the European Championships.

Walsh found it hard to get past the long levers of ‘The Butterfly’ in the opening round, the Olympic medal used her superior reach to score and showed good feet to keep clear of trouble when the Emerald BC fighter looked to apply pressure.

The reigning Commonwealth Champion did manage to get into range more in the second and was accurate with combinations. The noted stylist also tried to rough up the Italian when the chance arose.

The slick fighter who defeated her in Tokyo also had her moments and successes in a closer to call round.

Walsh turned the frustration tables on her tall foe in the last as she began to land quality slip right hands and negate the Italians size advantages. It was enough to impress some of the judges but not enough to earn her a win, as Testa was handed a split decision win.

There was also no final four joy for Shannon Sweeney against Bulgarian superstar Sevda Asenova. Sweeney was gallant against Bulgaria’s only ever major tournament medal winner but was ultimately out foxed by the veteran. Still a bronze medal is a massive achievement for a young talent finding her Elite International feet.

Sweeney was keen to use her speed and get in and out early in the first round but took time to find her range. Her Bulgarian opponent was happy to wait, try to make the Irish fighter fall short, and counter-punch, seemingly content to win the round one punch to nil if she had to.

A tentative stanza ensued as a result.

There was a lot more intensity to Sweeney’s work in the second stanza, she came forward in fast bursts avoiding a single-shot approach that can be countered. The southpaw enjoyed real success pushing the World Championship medal winner back and seemed to take charge.

Asenova adapted to the St Anne fighter’s tactical change in the last, getting up on her toes and check-hooking her way out of the fast bursts forward. However, she landed single shots to the Mayo minimumweight’s combinations leading to another ‘what you like’ session.

In the end the judges preferred Asenova’s work and she was the first fighter to progress to the finals.

FOUR more Irish fighter shoot for silver on a historic day for Irish boxing.

World Champion Amy Broadhurst follows soon after contesting her semi-final against Croatia’s Sara Beram.

In bout 10, at around 4pm, now two-time European medallist, 70kg Christina Desmond Dungarvan BC/Garda BC, takes on Italy’s Melissa Gemini.

In the opening bout of the evening session, at 4.30pm, 50kg Caitlin Fryers meets Azerbaijan’s Anakhanim Ismayilova.

In bout 6, at approximately 5.45pm, Olympic champion Kellie Harrington contests against Kosovo’s Donjeta Sadiku.

In bout 10, at around 6.30pm, Olympian Aoife O’Rourke, takes on Love Holgersson of Sweden.

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

Coaches:

Zauri Antia

John Conlan

Dmitrij Dmitruk

Eoin Pluck

Physio

Rob Tuomey.

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