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Kurt Walker lands huge shock with featherweight victory against world champion Mirzakhalilov

The Irish boxer beat the reigning world champion at the Kokugikan Arena.

Image: Ramsey Cardy/SPORTSFILE

KURT WALKER’S OLYMPIC journey continues after a remarkable performance against Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov of Uzbekistan in their featherweight last 16 bout saw him claim a split decision victory.  

The Lisburn boxer was not overawed against the gold medal favourite and fought bravely throughout. Four of the judges gave Walker the first round after he demonstrated good footwork and terrific movement from the off. 

The second was closer as Mirzakhalilov let fly. The world champion did his best to tie up the Irishman and find his range.  Yet Walker continued to box clever, deploy the right hand and avoid trouble. 

In his opening bout, the 26-year old suffered a cut to his right eyebrow. This time the damage came on the left. Still, he persevered and was rewarded by three of the judges once again in the second. 

“Two arms, two legs like myself. I don’t care about him. He needs to worry about me,” Walker declared before today’s contest. It proved a telling prediction. 

As his Olympic dream began to slip away, the Uzbek brawler roared out in the final round yet it was not enough.

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“I just knew I was smarter and faster than him. That is enough to win me a fight in most cases. I knew he was going to come on strong but he was very predictable. I was able to read him and use my feints to my benefit,” explained a delighted Walker in his post-fight interview with RTE. 

It means he progresses to the quarter-final and a fight for a medal against American Duke Ragan.

About the author:

Maurice Brosnan

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