Split-decison heartbreak for Michaela Walsh in European Games final

The Belfast boxer lost 4-1 on the scorecards to Bulgaria’s Petrova Stanimira in Minsk.

Michaela Walsh reacts to defeat.
Michaela Walsh reacts to defeat.
Image: Martin Rickett

MICHAELA WALSH HAS to settle for silver in the featherweight category at the European Games in Minsk following a split-decision defeat to Petrova Stanimira this afternoon. 

Walsh booked her place in today’s final with a masterclass, split-decision win against Russian Daria Abramova, but the decision went against her this afternoon, losing 4-1 to her Bulgarian opponent on the judges’ scorecards. 

It was a cagey battle from the off, with both boxers working hard to get the upper hand and with Petrova favouring an upright style, Walsh had to work harder to adjust. An equally close second round followed, with Walsh getting some key jabs in, but Petrova shaded the final round and secured the 4-1 split decision ruling to secure the gold medal.

Speaking afterward, pausing occasionally to wipe away tears, Walsh trained her focus on the Tokyo Olympics next year, assuring that the silver medal around her neck would soon be replaced with a gold one.

“I’m disappointed, I felt I could have got the fight.

Today she got the nod, but I’m using this as a springboard to Tokyo, my main focus. I got one of the hardest draws here, I beat a World champion, a European champion. Today wasn’t my day, the level is so high and it was going to go either way. I congratulate her, and I’ll get her again. 

“I’m really happy with my performances, I’ve felt I’ve got better step-by-step, and it’s not even 100% of me. I fell I can get better and better, and this silver medal – I guarantee it will be a gold next time.” 

Walsh’s performances catapult her into the ‘medal hopeful’ category ahead of Tokyo, but a more pressing concern are the World Championships later this year. 

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The Irish boxing team have another two contenders for gold medals, both of whom are fighting tomorrow morning.

Kellie Harrington faces Finland’s Mira Potkonen – who defeated Katie Taylor at the Rio Olympics – in the lightweight final before Kurt Walker takes on Ukraine’s Mykola Butsenko in the men’s 56kg decider. 

About the author:

Gavin Cooney

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