Members of Irish squad in Romania

World and European Elite silver and bronze medallist Kellie Harrington and Christina Desmond struck double gold for Ireland versus world class opposition at the Nicolae Linca Memorial in Iasi, Romania today.

The Dublin and Cork duo beat Russian opponents, with Harrington getting the better of current European lightweight champion Dariya Abramova and Desmond stopping Yakusina Yaraslav, who is ranked No. 7 in the World at middleweight, early in the third round.

Kiril Afansev also impressed today, the Dublin heavyweight recording a first round KO Romania’s Catilin Cristea to guarantee himself at least silver.

Irish head coach Zaur Antia, who is working Ireland’s corner with Jimmy Payne in Iasi, hailed the performances of the Irish trio.

Harrington admitted that Abramova was a tough opponent but said she stuck to the game plan handed to her by Antia and Payne and thought she won every round against an opponent who beat Finland’s Mira Potkonen, who beat Katie Taylor at the Rio Olympics, in the 2016 European final.

Ireland will be taking home three gold and at least one silver from Romania, as Joe Ward, who won two fights in Iasi, claimed gold after his Spanish opponent pulled out of their light-heavy final with an injury.

Carly McNaul took part in a test match today and put in a top class performance.

Afsenev will be in action versus Hungary in Saturdays 91kg final. The Irish squad are due to arrive home via Dublin Airport at 2.30pm (Terminal 1) on Sunday.

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) v Dence Istvan (Hungary)

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) (Silver, at least)

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