Highlights on Off The Ball

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Highlights on Off The Ball

'There will be three more boxing medals coming home' | Michaela Walsh & Emmet Brennan

With a bronze medal already guaranteed for the Team Ireland boxers, Michaela Walsh and Emmet Bren...


'There will be three more boxing medals coming home' | Michaela Walsh & Emmet Brennan

With a bronze medal already guaranteed for the Team Ireland boxers, Michaela Walsh and Emmet Brennan believe that the three remaining athletes are all capable of taking home gold.

Aidan Walsh, Kellie Harrington and Kurt Walker are Ireland’s three remaining boxers in the hunt for Olympic gold, with Walsh already guaranteed at least a bronze medal having qualified for the semi-final.

However his sister, Michaela, and Brennan, who were both beaten in their hunt for Olympic gold earlier this week, believes that the three remaining Irish boxers have it in them to secure the top prize in amateur boxing.

Speaking on Off The Ball’s Olympic Show on Friday, Michaela Walsh and Brennan discussed the upcoming bouts for Team Ireland.

Aidan Walsh 'could be the best amateur we have seen'

Aidan Walsh will take on Great Britain’s Pat McCormack on Sunday, after he defeated Mauritian Merven Clair in the quarter-final on Friday.

His sister Michaela is immensely proud of her brother, and feels that he can go all the way to bring home gold.

“I feel like I have won in a way, because Aidan’s success is my success,” Walsh said. “I have always said it from day one that he is a special talent.

“People have said that, because I am older, that I am the better boxer, but I’ve always said that Aidan is miles ahead of me, and he has proven that now on the world stage.

“He believes he can do it, and I know he is very familiar with Pat [McCormack], but I fully believe this is Aidan’s time.”

“I am rooting for Kellie [Harrington] and Kurt [Walker] as well,” Walsh added. “It is not only one medal that is coming home, I believe it is going to be three.”

Walsh Boxing

For Brennan, who went out of his event on Sunday, believes that Walsh truly deserves the medal that he is already guaranteed, but that greater things await him, potentially as early as Sunday.

“If there is anyone that deserves an Olympic medal, it is Aidan,” Brennan said. “He is a great trainer, and he is a great person.

“Unless you are a real elite boxer, you are not going to get near Aidan. His is technical skills, his reflexes, his distance, they are second to none.

“He is only 24. He can go on and improve his medal from a bronze to a silver or gold, but he still has another cycle in him; he is nowhere near his peak.

“By the time Paris comes around, he is going to be an exceptional athlete, well he already is an exceptional athlete.

“Technically he is a genius; his reflexes are frightening. I have sparred him, and you just hit air.

“He has everything. He is probably going to go on to be one of the best amateurs that this country has ever seen.”


'I am confident Kellie Harrington will win gold'

Kellie Harrington had a long wait for her first bout, as she was in action for the first time in Tokyo on Friday morning.

After an impressive performance where she saw off Italian Rebeca Nicoli, Harrington will take on Algerian Imane Khelif in the quarter-final on Tuesday.

With such an emphatic victory on Friday, Walsh believes that it will take a special fighter to beat Harrington at this stage.

“[It was an] unbelievable performance,” Walsh said. “Her composure is phenomenal. She is just so gifted.

“Kellie is a different level, and going into the next fight her confidence will be sky high. She just takes one fight at a time.

“I felt sorry for her, she had to wait a long time, but it was worth the wait; her performance was phenomenal.

“I just think she is going to get better and better. It doesn’t matter if she is number one seed or not, that means nothing to her.

“She just focuses on herself, and her performance and she is in great spirits, she is feeling great, and I think she has gotten better from the last tournament.”

Harrington has filled in the boots of Katie Taylor, who turned professional in 2016, and Brennan believes that, not only is she doing a great job at filling those boots, there are many more like her stepping up in the division too.

“We probably have one of the strongest women’s squads in the world,” Brennan said. “Kellie is exceptional.

“I am not going to put too much pressure on her, but I am very, very confident that she will come home with a gold medal.”

Walker Boxer


'This is a different Kurt Walker'

Arguably the surprise of the Irish athletes thus far, Kurt Walker beat the number one seed in his division en route to his quarter-final, which will take place on Sunday against American Duke Regan.

The European champion has had a history of turning up for big fights, however Brennan believes that this is a different side of Walker, and he has been impressed.

“Similar to Kellie, Kurt turns up on the big stage, he is European champion,” Brennan said. “Talent-wise, he is unbelievable, but in this tournament, I’ve seen a switch in him.

“I have never seen him this focused, I have never seen him doing [what he’s been doing]. He is doing the right thing all the time, his weight is good and similar to Kellie, he has no excuses.

“Although he was fighting the world number one the other day, I woke up that morning unbelievably confident that he was going to win. I had no doubt in my mind that he was going to win.

“He has America next, and again I cannot see him being beaten. He is in a different mindset; it is going to take a very good performance to beat him.”

For Walsh, this change in attitude from Walker can be attributed to him having something new to fight for, and it should see him over the line to at least take home bronze.

“I feel like he gets a lot of strength from his daughter being born,” Walsh said.  “He is a new man in a way, and his dream is to become Olympic champion and it is there for him.

“He has set up a new pathway; that performance the other day was phenomenal, and I can’t see anyone beating him after that. I believe he can go all the way.”

Indeed are proud to support Team Ireland at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Indeed believes the world works better when people are given every opportunity to unleash their true talents. #TalentUnleashed

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Aidan Walsh Boxing Emmet Brennan Kellie Harrington Kurt Walker Michaela Walsh Olympics Tokyo 2020