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Dervla Duffy and Michaela Walsh in action in Cascia

By Michael O’Neill

Ireland’s Dervla Duffy and Michaela Walsh will be in action Wednesday as the 2017 EUBC European Union championships reach the business end of the tournament in Cascia, Italy.

Former Kildare and Monaghan Ladies Gaelic star – and no mean athlete to boot – Duffy faces off against the German titleholder Ornella Wahner in the 57kg weight class and is capable of upsetting the odds here if she is at or near her best. The winner of this bout is guaranteed at least a bronze.

At 54kg , Belfast’s Michaela Walsh has been in sparkling form thus far on her return to championship  boxing after a lengthy absence. The silver medallist from the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow is up against Swedish champion Helena Envall and if she improves upon her already impressive form this week could convert that already guaranteed bronze to at least a silver but no fight at this stage of the tournament is an easy one – far from it.

There was double disappointment on Tuesday as Kristina O’Hara and Christina Desmond lost out at the last-eight stage.

O’Hara was unlucky to be on the wrong end of a 4-1 split verdict to Italy’s Roberta Bonatti in the light-fly class.

Desmond lost on a unanimous decision to Dutch orthodox Nouchka Fontijn, the 2016 Olympic finalist and World No. 2 ranked middleweight. Indeed as current no.1 Claressa Shields has recently turned Pro, Fontijn will be the top ranked at 75kg when the next AIBA ranking list is issued. Desmond shook her opponent with a left hook in the opening round but the classy Dutch woman  eventually won out 5-0, when the judges voted.

World Elite silver medallist Kellie Harrington (at 64kg) boxing here at 60kg, and Grainne Walsh fight in the semi-finals on Thursday. Harrington takes on the excellent Italian Irma Testa who has despite her young age defeated most of the top women in recent years and will have the support of the home Italian crowd. This promises to be one of the highlights of this year’s Championships.

Grainne Walsh, also guaranteed at least a bronze after that magnificent win over Welsh star Lauren Price on Monday now faces England’s Sandy Ryan, a former European Silver medallist and this promises to be as close a bout as Walsh- Price was . If she can repeat that form, the Sparticus Tullamore women is in with a sporting chance of upsetting the odds when the two meet later this week.

No Nicola Adams this year at 51kg but her fellow English woman Lisa Whiteside is going strong and at her best is capable of taking the title for the first time.

More news throughout the tournament.

Boxing begins at 3.30pm (Irish time) each day.

European Union Women’s Championships Cascia, Italy August 4th/13th

August 8th


48kg Kristina O’Hara (Ireland) lost to Roberta Bonatti (Italy) 1-4

75kg Christina Desmond (Ireland) lost to Nouchka Fontijn (Netherlands) 0-5

August 9th


57kg Dervla Duffy (Ireland) v Ornella Wahner (Germany)


54kg Michaela Walsh (Ireland) v Helena Envall (Sweden)

August 10th –   Rest day

August 11th:

60kg Kellie Harrington (Ireland) v Irma Testa (Italy)

69kg Grainne Walsh (Ireland) v Sandy Ryan (England)

Wednesday’s programme:


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