Irish head coach Zaur Antia with Kiril Afansev and Irish coach Jimmy Payne in Romania



Kiril Afansev claimed a fourth straight title for Ireland at the Nicolae Linca Memorial in Iasi, Romania today to cap a stunning tournament for Irish boxing.


The Dublin heavyweight comfortable beat Hungary’s Bence Istvan on a unanimous decision to join Kellie Harrington, Christina Desmond and Joe Ward amongst the gold medals.


Today’s victory saw Ireland secure the Best Nation Award.


Harrington, the 2016 World Elite finalist, and Desmond, the 2016 European bronze medallist,  won double gold yesterday versus Russian opponents, Harrington beating current European Elite lightweight champion Dariya Abramova and Desmond stopping World No. 7 ranked middleweight Yakusina Yaraslav.


Current European Elite light-heavyweight champion Joe Ward won two fights going into the weekend’s finals and secured gold after his Spanish opponent, Fernandez Camacho, withdrew from the 81kg final with an injury.


Irish head coach Zaur Antia, who is working Ireland’s corner with Jimmy Payne in Iasi, hailed the performances of the entire Irish squad, while team manager Jennifer O’Sullivan said they were absolutely thrilled to be taking home four gold medals.


Carly McNaul gave a fine account of herself in a 3-2 split decision to Ukraine’s Hanna Ohata in the preliminaries.


Ireland won 10 of 11 bouts in Romania at a tournament to perpetuate the memory of Nicolae Linca who beat Irish boxing legend Fred Tiedt in the 1956 Olympic welter final in Melbourne.


Team Ireland are due to arrive home tomorrow via Dublin Airport at 2.30pm (Terminal 2).





Nicolae Linca Golden Belt Memorial Iasi, Romania (May 10th/14th)

May 10th


51kg Carly McNaul (Ireland) lost to Hanna Ohata (Ukraine) 2-3
60kg Kellie Harrington (Ireland) beat Kanna Okheri (Ukraine) 5-0
81kg Joe Ward (Ireland) beat Evgheni Zaritschi (Moldova) TKO1

May 11th


60kg Kellie Harrington (Ireland) beat Lacramiqara Perijoc (Romania) 3-2
75kg Christina Desmond (Ireland) beat Irina Stoic (Romania) TKO2
81kg Joe Ward (Ireland) beat Guiseppe Perugino (Italy) 5-0

May 12th


91kg Kiril Afansev (Ireland) beat Catilin Cristea (Romania) KO1


60kg Kellie Harrington (Ireland) beat Dariya Abramova (Russia) 3-2
75kg Christina Desmond (Ireland) beat Yakusina Yaraslav (Russia) TKO3

May 13th


81kg Joe Ward (Ireland) beat Fernandez Camacho (Spain) W/O
91kg Kiril Afansev (Ireland) beat Bence Istvan (Hungary) 5-0

Irish Squad

52kg Carly McNaul (Ormeau Road)
60kg Kellie Harrington (St Marys) (Gold)
75kg Christina Desmond (Fr Horgans) (Gold)
81kg Joe Ward (Moate) (Gold)
91kg Kiril Afansev (Smithfield) (Gold)

Team manager: Jennifer O’Sullivan (Sliabh Luchra)
Coaches: Zaur Antia & Jimmy Payne
R&J: Ben McGarrigle