This evening saw four boxers and two track cyclists in action at the European Games in Minsk, on an evening when boxers Kellie Harrington and Kurt Walker upgraded their bronze medals and booked their place in their respective finals on Sunday.
Kellie Harrington has teed up a mouth-watering final showdown in Minsk this weekend with a well-known foe of Irish boxing, Mira Potkonen of Finland, following a superb semi-final unanimous decision win over Agnes Alexiusson of Sweden this evening.
Potkonen, remembered by most Irish fans for beating Katie Taylor at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, is set to be a fierce opponent for Harrington on Sunday and will undoubtedly be one of the bouts of the weekend for fans.
Today’s opening round battle was a masterclass from Harrington as she dominated the bout from the off, landing some key blows and pushing Alexiusson onto the back foot early on.
Harrington’s momentum carried into the second round, as she continued to box strong and keep firm control of proceedings. A fight back from the Swede in the third was not enough, as Harrington took home the unanimous decision win in the end to advance to the final and the battle for gold.
“I’m feeling great!” she said afterwards. “I’m in the final! The best thing about it is we’re a wolf pack, I’m not a lone wolf, we’re a wolf pack, we are all here as a team, we’re all medalling and it’s fantastic. Irish boxing is well and truly alive.
“I haven’t had a fight since February so to come out here now and be in a European final that’s just – this is what dreams are made of. I have, I think, nearly every medal now. This is just fantastic for a girl out of Dublin 1.”
Kurt Walker is also through to the final, following a stand out performance against Peter McGrail of Great Britain this evening in the men’s bantamweight semi-final, winning out on a 3-2 split decision. This evening’s win was Walker’s second successive victory over the British boxer and the pair dished up another thrilling and close encounter, with Walker challenged at every turn.
“Again, it was so tough, he’s so good tactically,” Walker said afterwards. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the coaches telling me my game plan honestly. I wasn’t doing some things right which I should have been doing but I got the decision and I’m delighted.
“It’s unbelievable. Four years ago, I was put out in the first fight and now I’m in the final – hard work, it really does help.”
There was disappointment for both Regan Buckley and Michael Nevin in their respective bouts this evening, with Buckley shaded by a 3-2 split decision to lose out to Artur Hovhannisyan of Armenia, while there was heartbreak for Michael Nevin as he was knocked out in the opening round by Italian Salvatore Cavallaro. Both Buckley and Nevin will take home bronze medals to Ireland this weekend.
Buckley fought hard early on, winning the first round well before Hovhannisyan responded in kind in the second. A tough fought third round followed, but Hovhannisyan again looked to have the edge, and the judges deemed him the winner by a 3-2 split decision.
“Yeh it was a real battle, it was a very good fight,” Buckley said afterwards. “I think the first round I boxed very well, I was kind of controlling the distance very well with the jab and caught him with some lovely shots. The second round, I thought I’d done enough to get it and the third round, I just got into his fight a little bit too much, kind of standing toe-to-toe with a smaller guy, it wasn’t really working out – my punches were going over his head.
“But look, we’ll go back to the drawing board and we’ll go from there. This is my first major international so it’s great experience for me, win, lose or draw. I’m very happy with the bronze medal, I trained very hard for this competition and it would have been nice to come home with the win, but I was switching off small bits in the ring and that’s what I need to work on in future.”
In track cycling Orla Walsh and Marc Potts were in action. Walsh finished 10th in the Women’s Scratch Race, and Potts was 11th in the Men’s Points Race, where he finished on 8th points. Potts attacked several times looking to gain a lap, but nothing stuck. Tomorrow on the velodrome Robyn Stewart will compete in the Women’s Sprint, and Shannon McCurley will race in the Women’s Omnium. The Men’s Madison will feature a new combination of Mark Downey and Fintan Ryan.
DAY EIGHT EVENING RESULTS
BOXING RESULTS (EVENING SESSION)
Women’s Lightweight 60kg
Kellie Harrington (IRL) wins v Agnes Alexiusson (SWE) on unanimous decision: 29-28, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28, 30-27.
Men’s Light Flyweight 49kg
Regan Buckley (IRL) loses v Artur Hovhannisyan (ARM) on 3-2 split: 28-29, 27-30, 28-29, 29-28, 29-28
Men’s Bantamweight 56kg
Kurt Walker (IRL) wins v Peter McGrail (GBR) on 3-2 split: 30-27, 28-29, 28-29, 29-28, 28-29.
Men’s Middleweight 75kg
Michael Nevin (IRL) loses on knockout v Salvatore Cavallaro (ITA)
Women’s Scratch Race: Orla Walsh 11th
Gold Kirsten Wild (NED)
Silver Martina Fidanza (ITA)
Bronze Hanna Tserakh (BLR)
Men’s Points Race: Marc Potts 10th on 8 Points.
Gold Christos Volikakis (GRE)
Silver Jan Willem Van Schip (NED)
Bronze Dmitri Mukhomediarov (RUS)
DAY NINE SCHEDULE (IRISH TIME):
08:00 Badminton – Chloe Magee & Sam Magee (IRL) Vs Gabrielle Adcock & Chris Adcock (GB) Mixed Doubles Semi Finals
08:00 Cycling Track – Robyn Stewart (IRL) Women’s Sprint Qualifying
10:20 Cycling Track – Shannon McCurley (IRL) Women’s Omnium Scratch Race I
10:35 Cycling Track – Robyn Stewart (IRL) Women’s Sprint 1/32 Rounds
12:35 Cycling Track – Shannon McCurley (IRL) Women’s Omnium Tempo Race II
15:00 Cycling Track – Robyn Stewart (IRL) Women’s Sprint 1/16 Rounds
16:00 Boxing – Michaela Walsh (IRL) Vs Stanimira Petrova (BUL) Women’s Feather -57kg
16:15 Boxing – Grainne Walsh (IRL) Medal Ceremony (after) Women’s Welter -69kg
16:23 Cycling Track – Shannon McCurley (IRL) Women’s Omnium Elimination Race III
18:01 Cycling Track – Shannon McCurley (IRL) Women’s Omnium Points Race IV
18:57 Cycling Track – Mark Downey & Fintan Ryan (IRL) Men’s Madison
07:25 Cycling Track – TBC Men’s Omnium
10:00 Badminton – Mixed Doubles Finals
10:15 Boxing – Kellie Harrington Vs Mira Potkonen (FIN) Women’s Light -60kg
11:05 Boxing – Regan Buckley Medal Ceremony (after) Men’s Light Fly -49kg
11:30 Boxing – Kurt Walker Vs Mykola Butsenko (UKR) Men’s Bantam -56kg
12:20 Boxing – Michael Nevin Medal Ceremony (after) Men’s Middle -75kg
12:28 Cycling Track – Lydia Boylan & Lydia Gurley (IRL) Women’s Madison
17:00 Boxing Kellie Harrington (IRL) v Agnes Alexiusson (SWE), Women’s Lightweight 60kg