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Undisputed Irish #1 Kurt Walker – “That means I’m the best now, no matter what”

No one can argue against it now: Kurt Walker is THE best amateur bantamweight in Ireland.

The Lisburn stylist won his third consecutive Elite title on Friday night, overcoming Stevie McKenna via unanimous decision. Walker’s first two all-Irelands came while Mick Conlan was still an amateur with the Belfast man not entering the National Championships due first to his WSB commitments and then because of his need for a rest following his World Championships win.

With Conlan now gone pro, the undisputed nature of this year’s triumph was special to Walker and he explained afterwards that “that was the best one, because Mick was away. That means I’m the best now, no matter what. I’m the man to beat, that’s the best thing about it.”

“Last year I beat the flyweight champion [Myles Casey], now I’ve beaten the light flyweight champion, I’ve beat two champions in the finals.”

“I’m buzzing. I’m so happy I got my third one.”

The Canal star was given a tough fight my the relentless McKenna, and admitted that “he’s fit, he’s hard to keep off, he’ll not be 56kg for long. He was very good, I was just that wee bit better.”

“The first round was the closest, the second and third I didn’t really get hit. It just takes me a while to get into it sometimes. I’m ten times better than that, I just had to get the win.”

The win means that Walker, a European Youth silver and World bronze medalist, will head off to his second major Elite international tournament for Ireland. The Ulsterman participated at the European Games in 2015 but was edged out on a split decision by Russian eventual gold medalist Bakhtovar Nazirov. In June he will head to Ukraine and the European Championships in Kharkiv, where a top eight finish will see him qualify for September’s World Championships in Hamburg.

“I’ve never been to a Worlds,” he said, “so it feels good to be the boxer that can go, it gives me something to train for. I’m going to go out now and get a medal at the Europeans. I can’t wait for them.”

“It’s not as if the Europeans are harder than the all-Irelands, sometimes the all-Irelands are harder the the Europeans. When I get to the Europeans I’ll be a lot more technical, It’ll be Zaur [Antia, High Performance Unit Head Coach] in my corner and there’ll be a lot more technical instructions.”

Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on, Boxing News,, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: