Belfast boxer Aidan Walsh secures Olympic medal with quarter-final win

Walsh beat Mervin Clair of Mauritius in his quarter-final bout.

Aidan Walsh celebrates his win.
Aidan Walsh celebrates his win.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

Updated Jul 30th 2021, 5:26 AM

AIDAN WALSH IS guaranteed an Olympic medal after beating Mervin Clair of Mauritius in his welterweight quarter-final in Tokyo today.

The Belfast boxer delivered another commanding and controlled display at the Ryōgoku Kokugikan venue to advance to the semi-finals and secure himself at least a bronze medal.

It was another comfortable outing for Walsh – who had producing a stunning and clinical win over Cameroon’s Albert Mengue Ayissi earlier in the week.

Walsh took a slightly cautious approach in the early stages against Clair, the 24-year-old showing a few flashes of quality while allowing the Mauritius fighter expand far more energy, with all five judges siding with Walsh after the first.

Chasing the fight, Clair came out more aggressive in the second and while Walsh still looked comfortable – his speed keeping him out of any real trouble – the judges’ scored the round 3-2 in Walsh’s favour.

aidan-walsh-in-action-with-merven-clair Ireland's Aidan Walsh (red) in action with Merven Clair (blue) of Mauritius. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

And Walsh saw out the third round with ease, Clair barely managing to land a punch as the Belfast man dragged him around the ring.

The Monkstown ABC fighter, a silver medallist at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, took the fight 4:1.

And with a bronze medal now secured, Walsh will fight Britain’s Pat McCormack on Sunday as he looks to advance to an Olympic final.

“It’s incredible. I’m just so glad I’ve done my family, my girlfriend, my coaches and Team Ireland so proud,” Walsh said.

“To have your name up there as an Olympic medallist… I want to go for gold – always aiming for higher and better. It’s gone now and I’m on to the next one – I’m looking forward to the next one.”

Walsh singled out his sister, and fellow Olympian, Michaela for special praise, with the 28-year-old providing vocal support from the stands throughout the fight.

“Her voice cuts through the noise! You’d hear her everywhere in Belfast! It’s the same when we’re sparring in Dublin, the coaches have to shush her.

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“Ah it’s great, me and her are best friends. I would actually cut the medal in half and give her half of it, that’s how much she means. I’m disappointed for her that she didn’t come out here and create history together, that would have meant a lot to me but it’s just boxing, and we’ll come again for the next Olympics and try and create more history.

I’m just so grateful. Everything is a bonus, but I just have so much in life and everything is just a bonus. I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve all of this – it’s crazy. I’m lucky. Very, very lucky.”

Updated at 8.19am with reaction from Aidan Walsh.

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Ciarán Kennedy

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