Kellie Harrington had to settle for silver at the World Women’s Elite Championships in Astana, Azerbaijan today.
The Dublin light-welter was beaten on a majority decision (39-37,38-38,40-36) by China’s Yang Wenlu in the 64kg decider after four close and tactical rounds.
Harrington found the target with the cleaner shots over the four frames, but the judges favoured the up tempo approach of the No. 3 seed, who did clip Harrington with some neat punches, particularly in rounds two and three.
Harrington, switching stances, detonated the best punch of the fight in the third, a right hook. She finished with a right on the bell, but the judges split in favour of Wenlu, who tagged the Irishwoman with a solid left in the fourth.
Harrington responded in kind going down the final stretch, but she needed to take all three judges with her in the last stanza and they again split in favour of the new world champion.
Harrington won four fights and lost one in Astana. Five magnificent performancs from the Dubliner, who described Wenlu as a fantastic athlete and who also vowed to come back stronger for the 2018 World Championships.
“Next time I come out here it will be gold,” said the fifth Irish boxer to reach an AIBA final after Jason Quigley, Michael Conlan, Joe Ward and Katie Taylor.
The tributes were pouring in for Harrington after today’s final, with Conlan, the current AIBA World champion, saying he was gutted for his Irish team mate but proud of her performances at the 9th edition of the tournament.
“Gutted for Kelly Harrington, thought she nicked that! What an achievement first major championships and she picked up World silver!,” tweeted the AIBA World No. 1.
Irish team manager Anna Moore also hailed Harrington, with Paddy Barnes describing the AIBA World Elite silver medallist as amazing.
The Irish champion will be bringing home silver from Astana and Katie Taylor bronze. Taylor also qualified for Rio 2016 in Central Asia.
Both women were presented with their medals today. Astana 2016 marks the first time that two Irish female boxers have finished in podium positions at the World Championships.
Team Ireland are due to arrive home at 9.50am on Saturday morning through Dublin Airport via Istanbul (Turkish Airlines).
AIBA World Women’s Championships Astana, Kazakhstan
May 19th (Last 64)
51kg Ceire Smith (Ireland) lost to Ingrit Valencia (Colombia) 0-2
May 20th (Last 32)
54kg Dervla Duffy (Ireland) lost to Diletta Cipallane (Italy) 0-3
57kg Moira McElligot (Ireland) lost to Sati Burcu (Turkey) 1-2
64kg Kellie Harrington (Ireland) beat Austeja Auciute (Lithuania) 3-0
75kg Christina Desmond (Ireland) lost to Khadija Mardi (Morocco) 0-3
May 21st (Last 32)
48kg Donna Barr (Ireland) lost to Kim Klavel (Canada) 0-3
60kg Katie Taylor (Ireland) beat Agnes Alexiusson (Sweden) 3-0
May 22nd (Last 16)
69kg Grainne Walsh (Ireland) beat Hanna Solecka (Poland) 3-0
May 23rd (last 16)
60kg Katie Taylor (Ireland) beat Dayana Sanchez (Argentina) 3-0
64kg Kellie Harrington (Ireland) beat Cindy Rogge (Germany) 3-0
May 24th Q/Finals
64kg Kellie Harrington (Ireland) beat Zarina Tsoloyeva (Kazakhstan) 3-0
60kg Katie Taylor (Ireland) beat Victoria Torres (Mexico) 3-0
69kg Grainne Walsh (Ireland) lost to Valentina Khalzova (Kazakhstan) TKOI2
May 26th S/Finals
60kg Katie Taylor (Ireland) lost to Estelle Mossely (France) 1-2
64kg Kellie Harrington (Ireland) beat Sara Kali (Canada) 3-0
64kg Kellie Harrington (Ireland) lost to Yang Wenlu (China) 0-2
48kg Donna Barr (Twin Towns)
51kg Ceire Smith (Cavan)
54kg Dervla Duffy (Mulhuddart)
57kg Moira McElligot (St Michael’s Athy)
60kg Katie Taylor (Bray) (Bronze)
64kg Kellie Harrington (Glasnevin) (Silver)
69kg Grainne Walsh (Sparticus)
75kg Christina Desmond (Fr Horgan’s)
Team manager: Anna Moore
Coaches: Zaur Antia, Eddie Bolger, Gerry Storey, Pat McDonagh