“This is the best moment of my life – by a mile” – Walker secures sensational gold for Ireland
*All interviews on soundcloud*
30 June 2019
Kurt Walker has secured a gold medal for Ireland in sensational fashion this afternoon, with a unanimous decision win over Mykola Butsenko of Ukraine in the Bantamweight final.
The Antrim boxer put on a stunning exhibition in Minsk, taking all three rounds against Butsenko in what was a repeat of the 2017 European Elite semi-final, which Butsenko won.
Walker was on form from the off, landing some hard, clean punches from early on and managing to keep his composure in the face of some pressure from the Ukrainian. Walker continued to dominate though as the rounds ticked on, and stormed home to an unforgettable unanimous decision.
“I actually can’t describe how I’m feeling, it’s absolutely unbelievable,” he said afterwards. “To come here at the start and believe I’ll win gold, but for it to actually happen is just on a different level.
“He was very tough, he’s been about. This was his third European final so he’s very experienced and he kept coming and coming, so I’m just glad I was able to fight through it. Two years ago in the European Championships he beat me in the semis 5-0 and it just shows I’ve grown so much as a boxer and a man in the last two years
“The coaches need so much credit, the game plan it was unbelievable and I knew it was working. I came back after the first round and they were both buzzing and they’re never usually like that! You usually have to do more and more, but they were both buzzing and they said keep picking it up, and thankfully I did. It’s unbelievable – it was everything coming true. You have these dreams of it happening, but when it actually does happen you don’t know what to do, you just feel so happy it’s unbelievable.”
Earlier on in the day, Team Ireland boxing captain Kellie Harrington was withdrawn from her Lightweight final due to injury but was absolutely thrilled to be coming home to Ireland with a silver medal.
“It’s a great achievement to come out here and get a silver medal, as well as the team picking up six medals. I’m delighted to be a part of such an amazing team and to bring back a silver medal for my country. I’m disappointed to not be fighting today in the finals but sometimes you have to look after yourself as number one priority, we have a bigger picture in mind. It was the right thing, but it still hurts, and a silver medal is nothing to be frowned upon – another major medal to take back home to add to the collection, so I’m happy.
“As team captain coming out here with such a strong team, to be honest I didn’t expect anything different. We got what we came out here for and that’s all that can be asked of us and of the team. I’m very proud of the team and absolutely honoured to be team captain of both male and female.”
In track cycling the last athletes in competition are the Women’s Madison of Lydia Boylan and Lydia Gurley and JB Murphy in the Men’s Omnium. Earlier this morning Mia Griffin finished the Women’s Individual Pursuit with a personal best time of 3.40.444.
Kurt Walker (IRL) W Vs Mykola Butsenko (UKR) 29-28, 30-27, 30-27, 29-28, 30-27
DAY TEN SCHEDULE (IRISH TIME):
12:28 Cycling Track – Lydia Boylan & Lydia Gurley (IRL) Women’s Madison
14:14 Cycling Track – JB Murphy Men’s Omnium