Michaela Walsh on the brink of Olympic spot

She will want to do it herself and make sure by doing it in the ring but Michaela Walsh may just have secured Olympic qualification this evening.

The Monkstown BC fighter defeated French European and EU bronze medallist Mona Mestiaen in Paris tonight to move into the quarter-finals of the European Olympic qualifiers, meaning she is three rounds away from securing passage to Tokyo via the tournament route.

Indeed, she has two chances to become an Olympian via the Paris-held competition, as she can also explore the box-off route to try and secure one of the six spots available this week.

However, lose both and Irish-boxing.com’s unconfirmed sums suggest victory tonight was enough to make sure Walsh will join Brendan Irvine and Kurt Walker at the Games.

With Russian Liudmila Vorontsova exciting the tournament, the win tonight means, Walsh should qualify via the backdoor rankings route, the same passage Canal BC fighter Walker has.

The increasingly impressive Walsh showed no sign of nerves in the first round. She was able to dictate the pace and scored easy as she eased her way to victory in the round.

Walsh’s evasive best was on show again in the second as she confused her opponent with her footwork and stung her with the jab. Even when Mestiaendid manage to close the distance the Belfast fighter proved she was capable of success on the inside.

Just like her brother Aidan, earlier in the day, Walsh was happy to coast in the final stanza knowing she had secured victory and again like her brother she still did enough on four of the five judges’ scorecards to win the round. In fact, she won every round on four of the five judges scorecards the odd one out scoring the fight the way of the French fighter.

Walsh now meets Stefaine Thor in the quarters where victory will secure her one of the six European qualifying slots while a loss sends her to a box-off, although again Irish-boxing.com understand that this evening’s win was enough to ensure she has a backdoor failsafe and is an Olympian.

The win means Ireland are four from four on the opening day of the resumed tournament. Walsh joined Aoife O’Rourke, brother Aidan and Emmet Brennan in the winner circle.

Kellie Harrington will be looking to make it five from five when she faces Polish opposition later tonight.

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com