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Kurt Walker narrowly beaten by American opponent in medal fight

Walker narrowly lost his quarter-final to American Duke Reagan.

Kurt Walker, dejected after his defeat.
Kurt Walker, dejected after his defeat.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

KURT WALKER CAME agonisingly close to securing Ireland’s second boxing medal of these Olympic Games, but was beaten in today’s featherweight quarter-final on a 3-2 split decision by American Duke Reagan. 

Walker lost the first round on all five judges’ scorecards, though upped the intensity and boxed clever to win the the second round on three scorecards, with the remaining two marking that round all square. 

The third round saw Reagan drag Walker into more brawling, but it was a very tight round that might have gone either way. Ultimately it went the way of the American, who secured at least a bronze medal ahead of the semi-finals. 

Walker, meanwhile, leaves the Olympic Games without a medal but with his reputation greatly enhanced, having caused one of the upsets of the Games with a last-16 victory over world champion Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov.

“Tough but it was a great fight,” Walker told RTÉ afterwards.

“I knew he was going to wait for me. I pushed a little bit too late but I’m proud of myself. I won two rounds out of three. He had a good first round, that was it. I was trying to find my distance and so was he, he was just a bit sharper in the first and it won him the fight.

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“I’m proud of myself, I beat the world champion. I showed everyone back home how good I am. They only see us once every four years but a lot more people will know my name after these Olympics.”

It was a wrenching morning for the Irish boxing team, as Walker’s defeat followed the news Aidan Walsh was unable to fight his semi-final owing to the ankle injury he sustained while celebrating his last-eight win. 

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Gavin Cooney

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