Michaela Walsh got Ireland off to a winning start versus the USA at the Strandja multi-nations in Bulgaria today.

The Antrim feather beat Gutierrez Guadaloupe on points in Sofia and will be back between the ropes tomorrow to meet Spain’s Jenifer Fernandez for a place in the last eight.

Roscommon middle Aoife O’Rourke, the current European champion, made it 2 and 0 for Ireland in a points win over Sweden’s to book her ticket into the quarter-finals.

Meanwhile, Dublin light-welter George Bates advanced to the last 16 after an impressive win over French southpaw Lounes Hamraoui who received a public warning for an infringement in the third round.

Galway super heavy Antoine O Griofa lost on points to Italy’s two-time Olympic finalist Cemente Russo.

The 2013 World Elite champion was on the floor in the second round but that was ruled a slip. However, O’Griofa’s left hook appeared to help him on his way in an engaging 91+kg clash in which both men found the target with clean shots.

In the afternoon session, Ceire Smith advanced at the expense of French flyweight Johanna Wonyou, and Cork welter Christina Desmond beat Brazil’s Beatriz Soares after a hard-punching 69kg contest.

Emmet Brennan was beaten on points by Ukrainian light heavyweight Stepan Hrekul but Kiril Afansev beat Belgium heavyweight Victor Schelstraette, – a former pro boxer (3-0-0) who has returned to the amateurs from the paid code – after a close 91kg encounter.

Thirteen Irish boxers, including all of the athletes that won their last 32 bouts today, will be back between the ropes tomorrow.

2018 World Elite champion Kellie Harrington meets Poland’s Aneta Rygielska and current European champion Kurt Walker is also in action.


Strandja Multi-Nations Sofia, Bulgaria January 20/25

January 21st

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 22

Last 16

51kg Carly McNaul (Ireland) v Olena Savchuk (Italy) or Maria Gonzalez (Spain)
51kg Ceire Smith (Ireland) v Rabab Cheddar (Morocco)
57kg Kurt Walker (Ireland) v Carlos Rocha (Brazil)
57kg Michaela Walsh (Ireland) v Jenifer Fernandez (Spain)
57kg Dean Clancy (Ireland) v Francesco Maietta (Italy)
60kg Kellie Harrington (Ireland) v Aneta Rygielska (Poland)
60kg Amy Broadhurst (Ireland) v Mira Potkonen (Finland)
63kg George Bates (Ireland) v Shpetin Bajoku (Kosova)
63kg Wayne Kelly (Ireland) v Paolo Di Lernia (Italy)
69kg Aidan Walsh (Ireland) v Johnson Delante (USA) or Vincenzo Mangiacapre (Italy)
69kg Kieran Molloy (Ireland) v Sing Negi (India) or Mateuusz Polski (Poland)
75kg Michael Nevin (Ireland) v Herbert Souza (Brazil)
91kg Kiril Afanasev (Ireland) v Nikolaz Begadze (Georgia)

January 23


69kg Christina Desmond (Ireland) v Jones Oshae (USA)
75kg Aoife O’Rourke (Ireland) v Flavia Figuerdo (Brazil) or Vasilena Rangelova (Bulgaria)



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