Michaela Walsh and Kellie Harrington chase history in today’s European Elite Women’s semi-finals in Sofia.
The Belfast and Dublin fighters will be aiming to upgrade their guaranteed bronze medals to at least silver versus Russia’s Daira Abramova and Finland’s Mira Potkonen, respectively, and become the first Irish women apart from Katie Taylor to reach a European Elite decider.
Harrington meets Potkonen, who beat Taylor at the Rio Olympics, in a repeat of the 2017 EU final which the Finn won. Walsh is against Abramova who beat Potkonen in the 2016 European lightweight final but has since dropped down to feather.
Harrington dominated Ukraine’s Iulia Tsyplakova in Saturday’s 60kg quarter-final, but the arbitrary nature of some scoring in amateur boxing was again in evidence in a 4-1 split verdict.
One judge gave the Dubliner a 10-8 round in a 30-26 decision, two gave her all three frames in 30-26 scores, a fourth marked it 29-28 to the Irish champion, but a fifth absurdly scored the fight 29-28 to Tsyplakova who was mostly outclassed.
Bernard Dunne, Irish Athletic Boxing Association high performance director and Irish team manager in Sofia, hailed their performances.
“These are really positive results here and the guys have done really well,” he said.
“It’s all about performances in the semi-finals. If you get that right the rest follows. The Irish team have worked incredibly hard in training camp for these championships and we’re very happy with their performances.”