Aoife O’Rourke stunned Russian Olympic Youth and World Youth champion Anastasia Shamonova to upgrade her guaranteed bronze to at least silver at the European Elites in Madrid tonight.
The Roscommon middleweight won on a 4-1 split decision in a reversal of the European U/22 bout which Shamonova won en route to gold in Minsk earlier this summer.
The Irish champion, who will meet Polish southpaw Elziebta Wojcik for the 75kg title tomorrow night, consistently tagged Shamonova with overhand rights in the opening and refused to back off against the aggressive Sochi orthodox in the opening two rounds.
She also delivered in the third, but this time with her jab en route to a gold medal match in the Spanish capital.
O’Rourke, who boxes out of the Castlerea BC, admitted after the fight she was still coming to terms with the win, while Irish head coach and coach Zaur Antia and Ireland coach Damian Kennedy described her as lion-hearted.
Team manager JP Kinsella hailed the Irish champion and remarked that her phenomenal performance ensured that Ireland will once again be represented on the last day of a major tournament.
The finals begin at 5pm tomorrow afternoon (Irish time) in Madrid and O’Rourke versus Wojcik is the 8th fight on the program.
Meanwhile, Amy Broadhurst had to settle for bronze after a tight encounter with Mira Potkonen in the semi-finals earlier today.
The Finn, the defending champion and No. 1 seed in the 60kg class, was awarded a 30-26,30-27,30-25,29-28,30-26 unanimous decision
Broadhurst arguably did enough to win the first round and could have shaded the second while the Rio 2016 bronze medallist claimed the third frame of a close and hard-punching bout on the unofficial scores.
The Dundalk southpaw had particularly good first and second rounds and repeatedly tagged her industrious opponent with her backhand while Potkonen’s best work was when she closed down
European No. 1 Potkonen will now meet France’s Maiva Homadouche, who shocked Turkey’s No.2 seed Sema Caliskan in a fight refereed by Ireland’s Sadie Duffy today, for gold tomorrow.
JP Kinsella said they were disappointed with the result but hailed Broadhurst’s performances this week in her debut at this level.
The Irish squad are due to arrive home via Dublin Airport this Sunday morning at 10.40am. (Flight 1B3792; Departure Madrid: 09.10. Arrival Dublin: 10.40 (Terminal 1).
(Images: O’Rourke has her hand raised in victory tonight and scoreboard, courtesy of JP Kinsella and Broadhurst v Potkonen, courtesy of Margit Kincses)
European Women’s Elite Championships Madrid, Spain August 22/31
75kg Aoife O’Rourke (Ireland) v Elziebta Wojcik (Poland)
60kg Amy Broadhurst (Ireland) lost to Mira Potkonen (Finland) 0-5
60kg Maiva Homadouche (France) beat Sema Caliskan (Turkey) 4-1
75kg Aoife O’Rourke (Ireland) beat Anastasia Shamonova (Russia) 4-1
75kg Love Holgersson (Sweden) lost to Elziebta Wojcik (Poland) Pts
60kg Amy Broadhurst (Ireland) beat Anastasia Belokova (Russia) 5-0
69kg Christina Desmond (Ireland) lost to Darima Sandakova (Russia) 1-4
69kg Christina Desmond (Ireland) beat Leonie Anna Van Leeuwen (Netherlands) 5-0
51kg Ceire Smith (Ireland) lost to Naz Buse Cakiroglu (Turkey) 0-5
60kg Amy Broadhurst (Ireland) beat Dominika Ciklova (Czech Republic) 5-0
75kg Aoife O’Rourke (Ireland) beat Tetiana Petrovich (Ukraine) 5-0
51kg Ceire Smith (Ireland) beat Krisztina Beri (Hungary) RSC2
51kg: Ceire Smith (Cavan/Virginia)
60kg: Amy Broadhurst (Dealgan) (Bronze)
69kg: Christina Desmond (Fr Horgan’s)
75kg: Aoife O’Rourke (Castlerea) (Silver, at least)
Team manager: JP Kinsella
Coaches: Zaur Antia and Damian Kennedy
Physio; David Cooke