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Brilliant Broadhurst and O'Rourke guarantee World Championship medals for Ireland

It’s only the second time – after a certain Katie Taylor and Kellie Harrington in 2016 – that Ireland have had multiple medallists at the Women’s Worlds.

Amy Broadhurst and Lisa O'Rourke.
Amy Broadhurst and Lisa O'Rourke.

THE BRILLIANT AMY Broadhurst and bolt-from-the-blue Lisa O’Rourke became just Ireland’s third and fourth boxers ever to medal at the Women’s Elite World Championships as each guaranteed at least bronze with quarter-final victories in Istanbul this afternoon.

Dundalk woman Broadhurst had lost her previous four World Championship quarters at all age grades (including a robbery at the 2018 Elite tournament which denied her a first medal), but she went one better on this occasion as she cruised past Serbia’s Jelena Janicijevic in their light-welterweight (63kg) bracket.

Roscommon youngster O’Rourke, meanwhile, dominated Armenia’s Ani Hovsepyan to reach the last four at light-middleweight (70kg) and bag a medal at her first ever Elite Worlds, the colour of which will be determined later in the week.

Southpaw Broadhurst’s body attack especially stood out en route to her 5-0/unanimous-decision verdict over Janicijevic, and across three high-octane rounds she simpler landed the cleaner, harder shots on the game Serb.

Broadhurst spent time in Connecticut in advance of the tournament when she was drafted in to spar professional lightweight world champion Katie Taylor, who was preparing for another formidable lefty in Amanda Serrano.

Since childhood, Broadhurst 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 Kellie 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 pencilled in for these World Championships until an injury ruled her out at the 11th hour, Broadhurst is competing again up at light-welter. For the first time at the Worlds, there is prize money on offer for all medallists and Broadhurst’s guaranteed bronze will see her pocket over €21,500. She will earn a chance to upgrade that to silver (€43,000) or gold (€86,230) with victory in her 63kg semi-final later this week.

Half an hour after Broadhurst had etched herself further into Irish boxing’s history books, O’Rourke capped a memorable day for Ireland and a remarkable 10 months for her family as she also reached a semi-final, equally guaranteeing at least bronze and a share of the prize money at 70kg.

O’Rourke, who turned 20 in Istanbul over the weekend, dominated her Armenian foe from pillar to post to reach the last four at light-middle.

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 has improved remarkably since and is now a World Championship medallist as an Elite.

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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.

Light-middleweight is not an Olympic division and so it is likely that, unless Lisa can squeeze herself down to welterweight (66kg), she will have to compete with older sister Aoife for the 75kg berth at the Paris Olympics — albeit hardly directly in the ring.

Hers and Broadhurst’s victories mean that, for only the second time ever, Ireland can enjoy multiple medallists at the Women’s Worlds, the first time being 2016 when both Katie Taylor and Kellie Harrington made it to their respective podiums.

Belfast duo Carly McNaul and Michaela Walsh couldn’t quite make it a record-breaking tournament for the Irish team as they suffered unanimous-decision defeats in their quarter-finals earlier today.

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