Walsh Waltzes along the road to Tokyo – Belfast fighter moves to within two wins of an Olympic place

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is liffey-crane-hire-1.jpg

Aidan Walsh secured Ireland’s first win of Day 3 of the European Olympic qualifiers in London today.

Welterweight Walsh waltzed past Estonian Pavel Kamanin to take one step closer to the 2020 Olympics.

The Belfast counter puncher looked at ease throughout and looked particularly impressive in the second stanza, where he hurt as well as out boxed Kamanin.

In-form Frenchman Wahid Hambli awaits the stylist but get through that Wednesday afternoon clash and the boxing sibling has two bites of the cherry for an Olympic spot – most likely versus Ukrainian Yevhenii Barabanov, a double European bronze medallist, or a very winnable box-off.

Walsh was up on his toes for the first round and forced his opponent to follow him around the ring for three minutes.

The output from either wasn’t massive, indeed the referee had to tell them to box on one occasion, but all the clean work came from the brother of Michaela Walsh and he won the round by a distance.

Walsh continued to show quality footwork in the second, but seemed to find a distance he was more effective from. His output increased and he twice hurt his opponent with two counter right hands, the highlights of a dominant second round. Indeed so dominant was the Belfast fighter in the second stanza that one judge scored it 10-8 in his favour.

With the fight all but tied up the third round was more procession than anything else. The Estonian remained full of effort, but never looked likely to secure the knockout he needed.

Ireland have three more fighters in action today. Up next will be Michael Nevin followed by Brendan Irvine and Kurt Walker.

Click HERE to see Day 3 fight times and for information on how to watch each fight.

Irish squad

(Olympic qualification standard in brackets)

Male

52kg Brendan Irvine (St Paul’s, Antrim) Cpt (Top 8)

57kg Kurt Walker (Canal, Antrim) (Top 8)

63kg George Bates (St Mary’s, Dublin) (Top 8)

69kg Aidan Walsh (Monkstown, Antrim) (Top 6)

75kg Michael Nevin (Portlaoise, Laois) (Top 6)

81kg Emmet Brennan (Dublin Docklands) (Top 6)

91kg Kiril Afanasev (Smithfield, Dublin) (Top 4)

91+kg Dean Gardiner (Clonmel, Tipperary) (Top 4)

Female

51kg Carly McNaul (Ormeau Road, Belfast) (Top 6)

57kg Michaela Walsh (Monkstown, Antrim) (Top 6)

60kg Kellie Harrington (St Mary’s, Dublin) (Top 6)

69kg Christina Desmond (Fr Horgan’s, Cork, Garda BC) (Top 5)

75kg Aoife O’Rourke (Castlerea, Roscommon) (Top 4)

High-Performance Director: Bernard Dunne

Coaches: Zaur Antia, John Conlan, Dmitry Dimitruk

dpg

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