Kellie Harrington upgraded her guaranteed bronze medal to at least silver on a split decision over Sudaporn Sessondee of Thailand in Tokyo this morning.
The Dublin lightweight won 3-2 to book her ticket into the 60kg Olympic final at the Ryogoku Kokugikan Arena.
Harrington won the first round of today’s encounter, a repeat of the 2018 World final which the Dubliner also won 3-2, courtesy of some well timed left hooks and two overhand lefts in the final few seconds of an extremely cagey opening frame.
But Sessondee came more into the fight in the second round, landing left jabs and rights with Harrington finishing out the round strongly.
That left if all riding on the last round and Harrington, the No.1 seed, delivered with overhand lefts and combinations to take the round and the fight.
She’ll now meet Brazil’s No. 3 seed Beatriz Ferreira for gold on Sunday morning and the chance to become the third Irish boxer after Michael Carruth and Katie Taylor to finish on top of a podium at the Olympics.
Ferreira beat Mira Potkonen, who beat Katie Taylor at Rio 2016, this morning.
Sunday’s broadcast on RTE 2 begins at 6am (Irish time).
Harrington told RTE that it was another chess match with the Thai fighter.
“I boxed Sudaporn in 2018 in the World final and it was a 3-2 split decision. It was a very, very close decision back then. It was a chess match back then, and it was a chess match today again, she said.
“She’s a fantastic operator, she has a really, really strong left hand, so I was trying not to get hit with that and trying to stay away from it. Trying to tease her on, like my coaches said, and then counter. I felt a little more comfortable towards the end, standing instead of running. It was fantastic, just brilliant.”
57kg Kurt Walker (Ireland) beat Jose Quiles (Spain) 5-0
81kg Emmet Brennan (Ireland) lost to Dilshod Ruzmetov (Uzbekistan) 0-5
52kg Brendan Irvine (Ireland) lost to Carlo Paalam (Philippines) 1-4
57kg Michaela Walsh (Ireland) lost to Irma Testa (Italy) 0-5
69kg Aidan Walsh (Ireland) beat Albert Menque (Cameroon) 5-0
75kg Aoife O’Rourke (Ireland) lost to Qian Li (China) 0-5
57kg Kurt Walker (Ireland) beat Mirazizbek Mitzakhalilov (Uzbekistan) 4-1
60hk Kellie Harrington (Ireland) beat Rebecca Nicoli (Italy) 5-0
69kg Aidan Walsh (Ireland) beat Mervin Clair (Mauritius) 4-1
57kg Kurt Walker (Ireland) lost to Duke Ragan (USA) 2-3
69kg Aidan Walsh (Ireland) lost to Pat McCormack (Great Britain) (W/O)
(Walsh sustains an ankle injury)
60kg Kellie Harrington (Ireland) beat Imane Khelif (Algeria) 5-0
60kg Kellie Harrington (Ireland) beat Sudaporn Sessondee (Thailand) 3-2
60kg Kellie Harrington (Ireland) v Beatriz Ferreira (Brazil)