Kellie Harrington advanced to the last eight of the 71st Strandja multi-nations in Sofia, Bulgaria this morning.

The Dublin lightweight decisioned Poland’s former World Youth champion Aneta Rygielska.

Rygielska, a European Elite finalist, was busy throughout the three-rounder, but Harrington, occasionally switching from orthodox to southpaw, picked off enough clean shots and combinations to post an impressive win in her first competitive bout since injuring her hand at the European Games last June.

“That’s a quality opponent that Kellie boxed. She’s a European medallist, very aggressive. To win as well as she did I thought was a really good performance. It’s a real positive for everybody,” said Bernard Dunne, IABA High-Performance Director.

Dundalk southpaw Amy Broadhurst, also boxing in the lightweight class, lost to Finland’s Mira Potkonen following a close three-rounder with the European champion who beat Katie Taylor at Rio 2016.

Meanwhile, Cavan’s Ceire Smith chalked up her second win in 24 hours in the light-fly class versus Morocco’s Rabab Cheddar, but Antrim’s Carly McNaul was beaten by Italian light fly Olena Savchuk.

There was double disappointment for Ireland’s male welters after Galway’s Kieran Molloy and Antrim’s Aidan Walsh dropped decisions to India’s Sing Negi and Johnson Delante of the USA.

Light welters George Bates and Wayne Kelly experienced contrasting fortunes in the opening bouts of the afternoon session in Rings A and B.

Bates progressed from a fiery battle with Kosovan southpaw Shpetin Bajoku but Kelly was on the wrong end of a points reversal to Paolo Di Lernia despite peppering the Italian with head and body shots in the 2nd and 3rd rounds.

Michael Nevin lost on a 3-2 split to Brazilian middle Herbert Souza. Nevin won the first two rounds 3-2 but the World Elite bronze medallist, Brazil’s only medallist at Ekaterinburg 2019,  took the final frame 4-1 to edge a narrow verdict.

Dublin heavyweight Kiril Afanasev was withdrawn from this afternoon’s bout with Georgia’s Nikolaz Begadze because of a hand injury sustained in Tuesday’s win over Belgium’s Victor Schelstraette.

Michaela Walsh racked up win number two in the Bulgaria capital, the Antrim feather beating Spanish feather Jenifer Fernandez 30-27 across the board on all five cards on a unanimous decision.

Kurt Walker advanced at the expense of Brazilian feather Carlos Rocha. The European champion looked sharp and focussed throughout and staggered Rocha backwards with a sweeping hook in the third.

Italy’s Francesco Maietta progressed versus Ireland’s Dean Clancy, also in the feather class. Both men went about their business on the front foot in all three rounds of an opening an up tempo contest, but Maietta got the nod.

Meantime, Harrington, Walker, Bates, Smith, Walsh, Christina Desmond and Aoife O’Rourke will box for at least bronze tomorrow.

(Images: Michaela Walsh and Irish coaches and Ceire Smith at Strandja tournament)



Strandja Multi-Nations Sofia, Bulgaria January 20/25

January 22

Last 16

51kg Carly McNaul (Ireland) lost to Olena Savchuk (Italy) 0-5
51kg Ceire Smith (Ireland) beat Rabab Cheddar (Morocco) 5-0
57kg Kurt Walker (Ireland) beat Carlos Rocha (Brazil) 5-0
57kg Michaela Walsh (Ireland) beat Jenifer Fernandez (Spain) 5-0
57kg Dean Clancy (Ireland) lost to Francesco Maietta (Italy) Pts
60kg Kellie Harrington (Ireland) beat Aneta Rygielska (Poland) 5-0
60kg Amy Broadhurst (Ireland) lost to Mira Potkonen (Finland) 0-5
63kg George Bates (Ireland) beat Shpetin Bajoku (Kosova) Pts
63kg Wayne Kelly (Ireland) lost to Paolo Di Lernia (Italy) Pts
69kg Aidan Walsh (Ireland) lost to Johnson Delante (USA) Pts
69kg Kieran Molloy (Ireland) lost to Sing Negi (India) 0-5
75kg Michael Nevin (Ireland) lost to Herbert Souza (Brazil) 2-3
91kg Kiril Afanasev (Ireland) lost to Nikolaz Begadze (Georgia) W/O

January 21

Last 32 and 16

51kg Ceire Smith (Ireland) beat Johanna Wonyou (France) 5-0
57kg Michaela Walsh (Ireland) beat Gutierrez Guadaloupe (USA) 3-2
63kg George Bates (Ireland) beat Lounes Hamraoui (France) 3-2
69kg Christina Desmond (Ireland) beat Beatriz Soares (Brazil) 4-1
75kg Aoife O’Rourke (Ireland) beat Love Holgersson (Sweden) 5-0
81kg Emmett Brennan (Ireland) lost to Stepan Hrekul (Ukraine) 1-4
91kg Kiril Afanasev (Ireland) beat Victor Schelstraette (Belgium) 3-2
91+kg Antione O Griofa (Ireland) lost to Clemente Russo (Italy) 0-5

January 23


51kg Ceire Smith (Ireland) v Virginia Fuchs (USA)
57kg Michaela Walsh (Ireland) v Sonia Lather (India)
57kg Kurt Walker (Ireland) v Mykola Buysenko (Ukraine) or Emanuil Bogoev (Bulgaria)
60kg Kellie Harrington (Ireland) v Valentina Alberti (Italy) or Hanna Okheri (Ukraine)
63kg George Bates (Ireland) v Shivan Thapa (India) or Pavel Polakovic (Czech Rep)
69kg Christina Desmond (Ireland) v Jones Oshae (USA)
75kg Aoife O’Rourke (Ireland) v Flavia Figuerdo (Brazil) or Vasilena Rangelova (Bulgaria)

(Opponents to be confirmed)

Irish squad


51kg Ceire Smith (Cavan) and Carly McNaul (Holy Family)

57kg Michaela Walsh (Monkstown, Antrim)

60kg Kellie Harrington (St Mary’s) and Amy Broadhurst (Dealgan)

69kg Christina Desmond (Fr Horgan’s)

75kg Aoife O’Rourke (Castlerea)


57kg Kurt Walker (Canal) and Dean Clancy (Sean McDermott)

63kg George Bates (St Mary’s) and Wayne Kelly (Portlaoise)

69kg Aidan Walsh (Monkstown, Antrim) and Kieran Molloy (Oughterard)

75kg Michael Nevin (Portlaoise)

81kg Emmet Brennan (Dublin Docklands)

91kg Kiril Afanasev (Smithfield)

91kg+ Antoine O’Griofa (Celtic Eagles)


High-Performance Director: Bernard Dunne

Coaches: Zaur Antia, John Conlan, Dmitry Dimitruk, JP Kinsella

Physio: Lorcan McGee

Physiologist: Damien Martin