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Broadhurst and O'Rourke reach World Championship finals on special day for Irish boxing

The Irish pair came through this afternoon’s semi-final in Turkey.

Amy Broadhurst (top) and Lisa O'Rourke (bottom) celebrate their victories.
Amy Broadhurst (top) and Lisa O'Rourke (bottom) celebrate their victories.

Updated May 18th 2022, 4:25 PM

IRISH BOXERS AMY Broadhurst and Lisa O’Rourke have both progressed to the finals of the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in Istanbul.

Broadhurst, 25, had to dig deep to earn a 4-1 split decision win over Parveen Hooda of India in this afternoon’s 63kg semi-final, while O’Rourke, 20, earned a dominant 5-0 unanimous verdict over a home-country opponent, Sema Caliskan, in her 70kg semi.

Louth native Broadhurst will face Imane Khelif — Kellie Harrington’s Tokyo Olympic quarter-final opponent — in the light-welter decider on Thursday evening, while O’Rourke will square off with Mozambique’s Alcinda Panguana in the light-middleweight showpiece — also in the late Thursday session.

Victories for both Broadhurst and O’Rourke guaranteed them at least €43,000 in prize money, while both fighters had already secured €40,000 in funding from Sport Ireland for 2023 when they guaranteed World Championship bronze at the minimum by winning their respective quarter-finals.

Broadhurst and Parveen’s 63kg semi was a barnburner, both women enjoying plenty of success in a high-octane back and forth. It was the Irishwoman, however, whose class gave her the fractional edge in a split-decision win.

Broadhurst took the first cleanly through clever movement and well-timed southpaw straights, but Parveen threw a spanner in the works as she became more slippery in the second and edged it on three of the five judges’ scorecards. This left the scores at 20-18 Broadhurst (x2) and 19-19 (x3), meaning the final round would decide everything.

Broadhurst, who appeared the more tired of the pair initially, went to the well and somehow finished the stronger in a scrappy last three minutes, somehow finding the handful of shots which ultimately separated them.

There were no such struggles for O’Rourke, meanwhile, who didn’t even leave any room for scorecard controversy against home fighter Caliskan.

The powerful Connacht woman led from pillar to post and her victory was greeted with a chant of ‘Olé Olé’ as she reached the final of her first Elite international tournament.

This is the first time ever that two Irish boxers have qualified for Women’s World Championship finals at the same competition. Broadhurst and O’Rourke have become the country’s third and fourth ever finalists respectively after Katie Taylor and Kellie Harrington.

Taylor and Harrington both made the podium at the 2016 tournament in Astana, Kazakhstan, but with bronze and silver medals respectively, whereas Broadhurst and O’Rourke have each now secured silver at worst.

Southpaw Broadhurst spent time in Connecticut in advance of this year’s competition after being invited over to spar professional lightweight world champion Taylor, who was preparing for another formidable lefty in Amanda Serrano.

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Since childhood, the Dundalk woman has won 19 Irish titles and five continental medals, including bronze at the 2019 Europeans as a fully fledged Elite. However, she has in recent years been forced to play second fiddle to the world-ruling Harrington in her preferred weight division of lightweight, or 60kg, missing out on the Tokyo Olympics because light-welterweight (63kg) is not an Olympic category.

With Olympic lightweight champ Harrington having been entered into these World Championships until an injury ruled her out at the 11th hour, Broadhurst is competing again up at light-welter. She was controversially denied a medal at the 2018 Worlds but will seek to join Taylor, Harrington, and Michael Conlan as a world champion in the amateur ranks on Thursday.

Lisa O'Rourke 2 Lisa O'Rourke in action for her county footballers. Source: michellehugheswalshphotography

So too will Castlerea woman O’Rourke, whose remarkable rise continues apace.

The younger sister of Tokyo Olympian Aoife O’Rourke (who won 75kg gold at the Strandja Tournament in February), Lisa only seven weeks ago became European champion at the U22 grade. She is yet to win a national Elite title, losing her October 2021 final to Evelyn Igharo, but will depart Turkey as an Elite World Championship silver medallist at the very least.

O’Rourke has also been part of Roscommon’s senior football panel since 2018. The Castlerea St Kevin’s midfielder scored a goal with her first possession on her inter-county championship debut for the Rossies against Offaly in 2020, and featured throughout their league campaign this spring.

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