Leading amateur Kellie Harrington showed a professional how it’s done amateur style to secure Olympic status in Paris this evening.
The former lightweight amateur #1 and World Amateur Champion produced a sensational display to defeat reigning IBF super featherweight world champion Maiva Hamadouche and became an Olympian in the process.
The Dubliner played madator to the French bull, boxing beautifully in the most eagerly anticipated amateur clash since the pandemic hit.
Harrington took the first two rounds on the move but tested the nerve of Irish supporters and her corner in the last as she stood and traded with the noted puncher.
However, the talent had enough of a lead surmounted to make the last round irrelivant.
The victory means one of Ireland’s greatest amateurs has secured Olympic status for the first time in her career and has increased Ireland’s boxing Olympic contingent to four in the process.
The St Mary’s BC fighter joins Brendan Irvine, Kurt Walker, and if Irish-boxing.com’s maths are right, Michaela Walsh in Tokyo.
Harrington started on her toes and used her movement to negate the obvious power of the French fighter in the first, picking off the feared puncher with ease. The No.2 seed was so impressive she won the round across the board with one judge giving her a 10-8 advantage.
It went from brilliant to the sublime in the second as Harrington picked off the aggressive world champion brilliantly. The Inner City native produced every shot in the book but couldn’t dent Hamadouche’s ambition. Although when the French fighter did drag Harrington into her kind of fight the Dubliner proved she was well able to battle. She secured two more 10-8s to all but secure Olympics status with a round to spare.
Harrington tested the nerve of everyone watching in the final round when she decided to stand and fight with the slugger. It made for a close and entertaining round but Harrington didn’t slip up, made the final bell and as a result made it to Tokyo.
George Bates came within inches of qualifying earlier today. The Dubliner was beaten on a 3-2 split decision by former world champ Javid Chalabiyev of Azerbaijan after three tight rounds.
There was no success for the big man in the afternoon session as Kiril Afanasev bowed out to Spain’s Emanual Reyes and Gytis Lisinskas lost to Bulgaria’s Peter Belberov in the super heavyweight class.
Emmett Brennan fights Luka Plantic of Croatia, Aoife O’Rourke takes on Elzbieta Wojik of Poland later this evening, both hoping to reach Games.
Two time Olympian Brendan Irvine will be looking to improve his seeding in his contest.