SILVER SECURED – Olympic Champ Kellie Harrington closes in on European Crown

Kellie Harrington has cruised into the finals of the European Championships in Montenegro.

The Dublin lightweight defeated Kosovo’s Donjeta Sadiku in the semi-finals this evening via a comfortable unanimous decision.

A bronze medallist at the 2018 Europeans – as well as a silver winner at the 2017 EUs and 2019 European Games – gold in Budva would complete the set for the Olympic and World champion who looks on course to make it a hat-trick.

A Tokyo Olympian and bronze medallist at the recent World Championships, Sadiku was a formidable foe but still a level below the Portland Row puncher.

Extremely cagey to start with barely a punch landed by either, the greater quality came from Harrington who swept the round on the cards.

With Sadiku now having to chase, things opened up for Harrington who was able to counter-punch successfully initially before the Balkan’s pressure started to pay off in the closing stages. It was not enough, however, and Harrington took the second on a 4-1 lead to give herself an almost-unassailable lead going into the final round.

Getting into a real flow in the third, Harrington picked some beautiful shots in what was the most entertaining round of the fight. Sadiku came forward and managed to close the distance in some instances to land clubbing blows but it was all in vain as the classy Harrington rounded out the win.

Another 4-1 split in the final round meant the overall scores were 30-27 x3 and 29-28 x2 for unanimous victor Harrington

The 32-year-old will box in the gold medal bout tomorrow where she will face Czech youngster Lenka Bernardova.

Earlier today Ireland secured three additional silvers as Amy Broadhurst, Christina Desmond, and Caitlin Fryers all also booked their places in the finals. Dundalk light welter Broadhurst steamrolled plucky Croat Sara Beram, Macroom’s Desmond was sensational versus Italian light middleweight Melissa Gemini, while Belfast light fly Caitlin Fryers stormed past Azeri Anakhanim Ismayilova.

Ireland will hope for fifth finalists shortly as reigning middleweight champion Aoife O’Rourke continues the defence of her crown versus Love Holgersson of Sweden

There was disappointed beforehand, though, for Mayo minnimumweight Shannon Sweeney who was beaten by Bulgaria’s world bronze medallist Sevda Asenova while Belfast feather Michaela Walsh was cruelly edged by Olympic nemesis Irma Testa of Italy.

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