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Dublin: 11°C Saturday 8 May 2021
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Masterclass from Ireland's Walsh sets up gold medal fight at European Games

The 26-year-old has now assured herself of a silver medal in Minsk.

Walsh fights in Saturday's featherweight final.
Walsh fights in Saturday's featherweight final.
Image: Soenar Chamid/INPHO

IRELAND’S MICHAELA WALSH is one win away from a European Games gold medal after she produced a boxing masterclass to advance through to the featherweight final in Minsk.

The 26-year-old showed all her class against Russian Daria Abramova in this afternoon’s semi-final, landing a number of hefty blows in the early exchanges to earn a 3-2 split decision win.  

Already assured of a bronze medal, Walsh will be upgraded to silver at least, but the Belfast boxer will no doubt have her eyes on the main prize when she faces home favourite Petrova Stanimira in Saturday’s final.

“I feel amazing, it’s great to get that win,” she said afterwards.

Going in I had a perfect game plan and I tried my best to stick with it but obviously when you are fighting such [good] opposition it can go either way.

“I feel I performed really well but the job’s not done. I’m refocusing and on to the next one.

“I definitely knew I won the fight, 100%. You are going to get split decisions like this. Thank God, I came out on the right side of it.

“This is what dreams are made of. People think it’s just one week, two weeks.

There are months, years of training since I started boxing. Every tournament I go to the aim is the Olympic Games and I’m just one fight away from it.

There was, however, disappointment for Grainne Walsh in her welterweight semi-final as she lost out on a split decision to Poland’s Karolina Koszewska. She returns home with a bronze medal.  

It’s a busy day for Team Ireland in Minsk, with Kellie Harrington, Regan Buckley, Kurt Walker and Michael Nevin all also due in the ring and bidding to book their place in their respective finals.

Ireland’s medal haul for the 2019 European Games currently stands at seven, after Donegal siblings Chloe and Sam Magee earlier secured a medal in the badminton mixed doubles earlier.

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Ryan Bailey

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