Who are the Irish boxing hopefuls ahead of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics?
Team Ireland will have one of their largest contingents ever at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, with representatives in a record number of sports as well. A big part of their medal hopes is in the boxing contingent, with seven pugilists heading to Tokyo in the various categories. These are –
Brendan Irvine (52kg Fly)
Kurt Walker (57kg Feather)
Michaela Walsh (57kg Feather)
Kellie Harrington (60kg Light)
Aidan Walsh (69kg Welter)
Aoife O’Rourke (75kg Middle)
Emmet Brennan (81kg Light heavy)
The team of 7 will be the second largest boxing team since qualifying was introduced. Kellie Harrington will be number one seed in Tokyo with Michaela Walsh being in the top four as well. Michaela celebrated her birthday in style with a unanimous victory over Sweden’s Stephanie Thour while Aidan’s slick skills in the first two rounds proved enough to see off the determined challenge of experienced Ukrainian Yevhenii Barabanov. Roscommon middleweight O’Rourke secured her spot with a dogged display against Poland’s Elzbieta Wojcik – the woman she beat to claim the 2019 European title. She had to do it the hard way too, bouncing back after Wojcik claimed the first round on all five judges’ cards, the Castlerea puncher showing incredible courage to wrestle the momentum away from her opponent. The Pole then had a point deducted before O’Rourke forced a standing count in the third to rubber-stamp a brilliant victory.
2018 World champion Harrington wrote another chapter in a superb career when she defeated reigning IBF World professional champion Maiva Hamadouche in a rip-roaring contest. The Dublin lightweight used her superior skills to claim the first two rounds before standing toe-to-toe with the tough Frenchwoman in the last, the emotion clear on Harrington’s face as she earned a unanimous 5-0 victory to secure her passage to Tokyo. However, Brendan Irvine, who had sealed his qualification for the Games in March 2020, lost out to slick Spaniard Gabriel Escobar, which will affect his seeding at the Games.
Brennan became the seventh and last Irish boxer to qualify, after coming through a bruising box-off against Sweden’s Liridon Nuha at the European qualifier. The 30-year-old was handed a unanimous decision even though four of the five judges scored the fight as a 28-28 draw. The other judge scored it 29-27 in Brennan’s favour, his nervous wait for a verdict exacerbated after he was deducted a point in the final round for holding against an opponent who continued to hit on after the break on a number of occasions.
You can check out the betting odds and predictions for boxing as well as the other Olympic events here, with betting.co.uk reviewed LeoVegas games and tables to occupy your time as well.
Medal hopes are on the boxing talents of lightweight boxer Kellie Harrington. The boxer will be the number one seed female boxer for the Irish representation and she is expected to come out with at least a bronze medal performance.