Michaela Walsh gets Ireland off to winning start at European Championships

Michaela Walsh got Ireland off to the perfect start at the European Elite Women’s Championships this afternoon in Bulgaria.

The Belfast feather defeated England’s Karriss Artingstal in the opening session of the tournament in Sofia.

Artingsal, of the Royal Air Force, put up a good fight in their Round of 32 encounter and looks one to watch but was beaten by Walsh in a competitive bout with started slow and finished fast.

It was quick return to the ring for Walsh who won Commonwealth silver in Australia less than two months ago and the extremely dediated Monkstown fighter is back looking for a third successive medal at a major championships following EU bantamweight gold last year and her recent Gold Coast silver.

In an extremely cagey opener, Artingstal stood off and looked to counter – with Walsh doing much the same – before a very strong final thirty from the Irishwoman which saw her stamp her authority on the bout, scoring with a nice check hook before surging forward with a number of flurries.

A more open second saw the English fighter begin to come forward. Artingstal did have some pockets of success but Walsh was proving elusive and her sweeping backhand right scored well to both body and head.

The slightly longer Artingstal came out firing at the start of the third, her best round, and Walsh granted her war wish, going toe-to-toe and sinking in some heavy-looking body shots mixed with periods of smart back-foot boxing

Going to the cards Walsh was awarded a fully-deserved 5-0 unanimous decision and now proceeds to the Last 16 where she will face Alessia Mesiano of Italy.

Kelly Harrington and Grainne Walsh are next up for Ireland, fighting in the last 16 on Thursday.

Dublin lightweight Harrington faces Czechian Katerina Humlova while Offaly welter Walsh boxes Russian former underage star Yaroslava Yakushina.

All three Irish fighters are now just one win away from securing a spot at the 2019 European Games in Belarus. Should they be defeated in the Last 16 theystill have a shot at qualification for Minsk should their defeator progress to the final here.

European Women’s Elite Championships Sofia, Bulgaria
Tuesday June 5th
Last 32
57kg Michaela Walsh (Ireland) beat Karriss Artingstal (England) 5-0

Thursday June 7th
Last 16
60kg Kelly Harrington (Ireland) v Katerina Humlova (Czech Republic)
69kg Grainne Walsh (Ireland) v Yaroslava Yakushina (Russia)

Friday June 8th
Last 16
57kg Michaela Walsh v Alessia Mesiano (Italy)

Irish squad
57kg Michaela Walsh (Monkstown)
60kg Kellie Harrington (St Mary’s)
69kg Grainne Walsh (Sparticus)
Team Manager: Bernard Dunne
Head Coach: Zaur Antia
Coach: Dmitry Dmitruk

Physio: Muireann Hartedpg

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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