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Dublin: 7 °C Saturday 15 December, 2018

Irish boxers claim eight medals at Commonwealths with semis and finals to come

Seven Irish fighters will return with at least bronze, while Kristina O’Hara booked her place in the light-flyweight final.

IRISH BOXERS HAVE secured eight medals at the Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast – the colours of which will be decided in the coming days.

Siblings Michaela and Aidan Walsh, James McGivern, Kurt Walker, Brendan Irvine, Steven Donnelly and Carly McNaul have all guaranteed at least bronze from Team Northern Ireland, while Kristina O’Hara upgraded to a worst-case silver with victory in her semi-final.

Glenavy light-flyweight O’Hara sealed bronze as early as Monday, and the St John Bosco boxer outclassed Kiwi Tasmyn Benny in this morning’s last-four encounter to reach a final versus Indian icon Mary Kom – a five-time world champion 14 years O’Hara’s senior.

Dad9Tw2XkAEernG Kristina O'Hara (L) prepares for battle Down Under Source: BBC

Also fighting overnight were Irish Olympians Steven Donnelly and Brendan Irvine, who each bagged bronze with quarter-final wins.

‘Wee Rooster’ Irvine took a 4-1 split decision against Botswanan Rajab Mahommed at flyweight, recovering well from a strong first round by the African to book a clash with 2014 Commonwealth bronze medalist Reece McFadden (Scotland) in the semis. Irvine has now won three major international medals as a senior.

Up at middleweight, Rio quarter-finalist Donnelly earned his second Commonwealth medal in a comprehensive display against nuclear Saman puncher Henry Tyrell. Donnelly fights India’s Vikas Krishan in the last four.

Brendan Irvine 'Wee Rooster' Brendan Irvine Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

20-year-old St George’s sensation James McGivern wreaked havoc with Mauritian veteran John Colin, forcing a count in the second round en route to a shut-out victory in his lightweight quarter.

McGivern, widely tipped as a special Irish boxing talent, won his last-16 scrap by stoppage and will square off with Manish Kaushik in the semis after the Indian disposed of European bronze medalist Callum French (England).

Perhaps the pick of this morning’s action, however, came via Belfast’s Carly McNaul, who scored a sensational comeback stoppage over Nigeria’s Ayisat Oriyomi to reach the women’s flyweight semis.

McNaul lost the opener to the rugged African but came out of the blocks like a woman possessed in the second, exhausting Oriyomi to her knee on no fewer than three occasions – through sheer physicality rather than fistic punishment – before the towel was thrown in by the Nigerian corner. McNaul’s bout is officially recognised as having been ‘abandoned’ by Team Nigeria.

McNaul takes on Kenya’s Christine Ongare for at least silver and a place in Saturday’s 51kg final.

Things didn’t go the way of lightweight Alanna Nihell, however, who was defeated in her quarter by English rival Paige Murney. Nihell lost a unanimous decision having been docked two points.

Yesterday, siblings Michaela and Aidan Walsh – featherweight and welterweight respectively – both reached the semis with comfortable wins, with the younger Aidan securing his first major international medal in victory over New Zealander Leroy Hindley.

EU bantamweight gold medalist Michaela, who won silver at the last Commonwealths in Glasgow, did wreck to Botswana’s Keamogetse Kenosi, forcing a total of four counts on her way to a third-round stoppage.

Aidan Walsh will face Fijian Winston Hill in Friday’s semi-final, while his older sister meets Kiwi Alexis Pritchard.

Michaela Walsh Boxer 21/12/2015 Michaela Walsh

Lisburn’s European bronze medalist Kurt Walker also reached the final four yesterday with a 4-1 split-decision win over Lesotho’s Moroke Mokhotho – the one card against Walker being extremely harsh.

Canadian Eric Basran awaits Walker on Friday, with the Northern Irishman seeking to defend bantamweight gold following his close friend Michael Conlan’s 2014 success in Glasgow.

Letterkenny super-heavyweight Stephen McMonagle lost out to New Zealand’s Patrick Mailata by way of a unanimous decision in yesterday’s last-eight clash. Mailata was a sparring partner of Anthony Joshua’s in the lead-up to the Briton’s heavyweight unification bout with another Kiwi, Joseph Parker, and physically dominated the Donegal man on his way to a routine decision.

Tomorrow is a rest day, but boxing resumes on Friday when Team NI’s seven semi-finalists will look to guarantee silver and join O’Hara in booking themselves a place in Saturday’s respective deciders.

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