Antrim bantam Kurt Walker booked his ticket into the last eight of the EU Championships in impressive style in Valladolid, Spain today.

But Irish captain Dean Gardiner and Conor Quinn lost on 4-1 split decisions.

Walker, who earned one 10-8 score, repeatedly caught Bulgaria’s Stefan Ivanov with rapid-fire body and head combinations to move to within one win of at least bronze.

The European Elite medallist will now meet Poland after his victory over an experienced opponent who has reached the last-eight of most of the European tournaments he’s entered since 2011.

Quinn bowed out to Rosenov Banbakov, also of Bulgaria. The first and third rounds of the flyweight bout – in which Banbakov’s left looked threatening but never quite delivered – were close and cagey affairs.

Quinn, who landed the shot of the contest – a straight right down the middle – in the second, finished out the round with a solid combination.

Gardiner,, as expected, was involved in a hard-punching three rounder with England’s Frazer Clarke, the current Commonwealth super heavy champion.

Neither man had to go looking for each other, with Gardiner, who pressed forward for most of the contest, regularly detonating solid shots on the inside against the European Elite silver medallist.

“All boxers gave their all, couldn’t ask for more. Kurt Walker was outstanding today. Conor Quinn and Dean Gardiner gave fantastic performances,” said Irish team manager Stephen Molloy.

Kieran Molloy and Kiril Afanasev are in action tomorrow.

(Images: Irish team manager Stephen Molloy and Wayne Kelly at opening ceremony and Kurt Walker celebrates victory)

EU Elite Championships Valladolid, Spain

November 9

Prelims (Last 16)

52kg Conor Quinn (Ireland) lost to Rosenov Banbakov (Bulgaria) 1-4
56kg Kurt Walker (Ireland) beat Stefan Ivanov (Bulgaria) 5-0
91kg+ Dean Gardiner (Ireland) lost to Frazer Clarke (England) 1-4

November 10

Prelims (last 16)

69kg Kieran Molloy (Ireland) v Ruben Veciunoa (Belgium)
91kg Kiril Afanasev (Ireland) v David Michalek (Slovakia)

November 11th

Prelims (last 16)

64kg Wayne Kelly (Ireland) v Petr Novak (Czech Republic)

November 12

Prelims (last 16)

75kg Michael Nevin (Ireland) v Stephan Nikitin (Germany)

November 15


56kg Kurt Walker (Ireland) v Jaroslav Iwanow (Poland)

Irish squad

52kg Conor Quinn (Clonard BC)

56kg Kurt Walker (Canal BC)

64kg Wayne Kelly (Portlaoise BC)

69kg Kieran Molloy (Oughterard BC)

75kg Michael Nevin (Portlaoise BC)

91kg Kirill Afanasev (Smithfield BC)

91kg+ Dean Gardiner (Clonmel BC) Cpt

Team Manager: Stephen Molloy

Coaches: John Conlan & Eoin Pluck

Physiotherapist: Seamus Caffrey

Team Doctor: Jim Clover- Team Doctor

Sports Physiologist: Damian Martin

Referee & Judge: Jim Murrin- R&J