Kellie Harrington progressed to within one win of a seventh major tournament medal in Montenegro tonight.
Less than 24 hours after she cruised past pro knockout artist Maiva Hamadouche, the reigning Olympic Champion had her hand raised for a second time in the tournament – and moved into the European Championship quarter-finals.
Ozer Gizem asked different questions of Harrington than the former IBF world super featherweight champion, but the best lightweight in the amateur game had the answers and eventually took victory via split decision.
The win leaves the Dubliner just one win away from a second European Championship medal. It also maintains Ireland’s 100 percent start to the tournament and makes it four quarter-finalists after just two days of action.
The Olympic gold medal winner took a cagey first round 3-2. There was an element of figuring out the rangy southpaw, who like the Dubliner was looking to counter. Harrington did enough to pip it with flashes of quality and the higher work rate but her opponent was skilled enough to land some clean backhands.
The second was another competitive stanza, Harrington applied pressure with her feet and began to let a lot more shots go. The Turk was still countering on occasion and enjoying success, but the St Mary’s fighter’s work was cleaner and more regular, as a result, she deservedly took the round 4-1.
It was still all to play for going into the last round of the last fight of the day.
Behind on two cards and drawing on the rest Gizem came looking to earn a famous win – but her more aggressive approach initially played into the Olympic champ’s hands. Harrington, who was switch-hitting at this stage was able to punish the aggression with well-timed scoring shots.
To her credit, Turkey’s lightweight champ did have a spell midway through the round where she landed some clean chin checkers – but Harrington used all her experience and skill set to finish strong off the back foot and move toward another major medal.
Carly McNaul already posted victory today winning through the quarter-finals with a one sided victory over Ana Alexandra Gheorghe of Romania.
As did Michaela Walsh with victory in a more tense last 16 clash with Arima Zidani.
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