‘That’s how much she means to me’ – Aidan Walsh wants to share Olympic medal with big sis Michaela Walsh

Aidan Walsh said he would share his Olympic medal with his big sister Michaela if he could.

The Belfast welter became Ireland’s first Olympic boxing medal winner since London 2012 in the early hours of this morning and is guaranteed a brilliant bronze after a quarter-final win in Tokyo.

The Monkstown Madator, a break-out star of the Games, beat Mauritian Merven Clair to set up a mouthwatering semi-final with Team GB’s Pat McCormack.

Regardless of what happens in the last four, Walsh is a medal winner and secured the silverware not long after his sister, who was deemed more of a podium hope going into the Games, exited the featherweight section of the tournament.

The younger of the fighting siblings admitted he was still disappointed for his sister and said he’d share the medal with her if he could.

“Me and her are best friends. I would actually cut the medal in half and give her half of it, that’s how much she means to me. I’m disappointed for her that she didn’t come out here and create history together, that would have meant a lot to me,” he adds before suggesting they will try medal as a duo in Paris 2024.

“But it’s just boxing, and we’ll come again for the next Olympics and try and create more history.”

Walsh becomes the seventeenth Irish fighter to win an Olympic medal and ninth from Belfast following in the footsteps of John McNally (1952), Freddie Gilroy and John Caldwell (1956), Jim McCourt (1964), Hugh Russell (1980), Wayne McCullagh (1992), Paddy Barnes (2008 and 2012) and Michael Conlan (2012). The fact he will be listed along such fight legends wasn’t lost on him post the win.

“The same as Paddy Barnes, Michael Conlan, Hugh Russell. I was talking to Hugh Russell before I came out here and it’s amazing now that I’m in the same situation that he was in. Obviously, I want to go further. It’s really, really good.”

“I’m getting shivers here just thinking about it.”

Speaking with regard to the Game plan the fleet-footed counter-puncher pointed out his team got them right.

“It’s the same again, what Zaur (Anita) and Dima (Dmitrij) tell me what to do. When I’m listening in the corner, they gave me the right tactics. It’s all about the right tactics and they always give me the right tactics.

“You just have to listen to them, and I’ve learned that over the years, to listen more and more and more and do what I’m told.”

The 24-year-old Olympic bronze medal winner also discussed the warnings the referee gave him for not engaging in the last stanza. He claims it’s nothing new and as a result didn’t overly phase him.

“He told me to fight. I’ve been getting that my whole life, so I have, people saying ‘fight, fight, fight, hurry up and move’. I’ve always had that style of moving. I’m just now implementing more stuff while I’m moving that the coaches are showing me and I’m learning more and more styles and techniques and tactics while on the move whereas before I used to just move and not really do as much.

“Now I’m growing as a fighter, I’m not just going on the move, I’m going backward and going forwards and it’s great,” he added before discussing that magical moment he was confirmed, winner.

“You don’t really know until your hand is raised after the final bell. When I got back to the corner I said to Zaur ‘Did I win?’. In that moment you’re just looking for confirmation from anybody, looking up to my sisters, the coaches Zaur and Dima, and you’re just looking for confirmation and then when your name gets called it’s an unbelievable feeling.”


Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com