Michaela Walsh strides through the front door to officially secure Olympic spot
Forget the backdoor Michaela Walsh made sure she strode proudly through the front door, securing Olympic qualification in style today.
According to Irish-boxing.com workings the Monkstown fighter made sure she could qualify via the rankings route with victory over defeated French European and EU bronze medallist Mona Mestiaen in Paris on Friday.
However, she didn’t need the failsafe and got the job done herself today taking one of the tickets to Tokyo up for grabs in European Qualifiers.
The European Games, European Championships, and European Union medalist was too good for Stephanie Thour of Sweden in the quarter finals of the restarted contest – and earned Olympic status via a unamious 30-27, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 decision.
The two time Commonwealth Games medallist never looked in any real trouble and dominated off the back foot from the first round on.
Walsh now officially joins Kellie Harrington, Aoife O’Rourke, Brendan Irvine and Kurt Walker on Team Ireland and will head the Tokyo Olympics later this summer.
🕒OLYMPIC QUALIFIERS DAY 3 SCHEDULE🕒— IABA (@IABABOXING) June 6, 2021
A quieter day in 🇫🇷 for Team Ireland but the goal stays the same with 2️⃣ big qualification bouts !
14:00 @aidanwalsh997 v 🇺🇦
13:15 @michaelaw57 v 🇸🇪
Let's Go Ireland!🇮🇪🥊#IABA #TeamIreland #RoadToTokyo pic.twitter.com/6Rh2EBZuBg
The opening minute saw a tentative feeling out process, although Walsh looked relaxed and comfortable up on her toes. As the round progressed she brought in the backhand and combinations to win the round relatively easily, despite the fact one judge gave it to the 22-year-old.
Walsh, 28, began to show why she was the #2 seed going into the competition in the second. Her footwork began to frustrate the Swedish feather and her clever shot selection began to sting her opponent. The Belfast fighter took the round and again did so without having to consult second gear.
She took the round across the board putting one foot in Tokyo in the process.
Thour needed a massive round to turn the tide and to gatecrash the Olympic party and did pile forward but again Walsh was a class above and turned on the style to win the round clear again.
Walsh’s brother Aidan is next up and hoping to secure Olympic qualification for himself as he takes on Yevheni Barabandy of the Ukraine in Ring A.
Kellie Harrington and Aoife O’Rourke joined Kurt Walker and Brendan Irvine as qualified Olympians yesterday, meaning by the end of today Ireland could have six boxers going to Tokyo – and if Emmett Brennan wins in a box off tomorrow that could increase to seven.