Kurt Walker, pictured having his hand raised in victory tonight, is the new European Union Elite 56kg champion after a top drawer performance in Valladolid, Spain tonight.
The Antrim bantam beat England’s current European Elite champion Peter McGrail on a 3-2 split decision.
Talented Liverpool-native McGrail, a World Elite bronze medallist who beat Walker on a 4-1 split in the 2018 Commonwealth final, won the first round tonight, but Walker edged the second and ran away with the third to secure victory.
The fight was tight and tactically throughout, but as John Conlan, who is working Ireland’s corner in Spain with Eoin Pluck, explained, “Kurt stayed in the pocket and boxed brilliantly.”
Conlan also admitted that he was surprised with the split: “I thought he won every round,” he said.
The latter half of the third was all Walker with McGrail soaking up a succession of rights as he sought to close down the distance between himself and the Irishman.
Tonight’s win maintains Ireland’s proud tradition of having won gold at every EU championships since, and including, Dublin 2007.
Galway welterweight Kieran Molloy claimed bronze in Spain.
Irish team manager Stephen Molloy, father of Kieran, hailed tonight’s victory.
”Kurt was fantastic all thoughout the championships and was outstanding today, catching his opponent with superior shots. So delighted for Kurt, John, Eoin and all the team,” he said.
“A good day for both Irish boxing male and female teams, with a superb win for Kurt Walker getting the Gold medal at the EU Championships. Team has performed well overall. All building towards 2020,” said IABA High-Perfromance Director Bernard Dunne from New Delhi where the Irish squad are impressing with 6 wins from 7 so far at the World Women’s Elites.
Team Ireland are due to arrive home from Spain at 1.30pm via Dublin Airport tomorrow, November 19.
Walker won four fights in 9 days en route to gold.
(Pictures courtesy of Stephen Molloy)
EU Elite Championships Valladolid, Spain
Prelims (Last 16)
52kg Conor Quinn (Ireland) lost to Rosenov Banbakov (Bulgaria) 1-4
56kg Kurt Walker (Ireland) beat Stefan Ivanov (Bulgaria) 5-0
91kg+ Dean Gardiner (Ireland) lost to Frazer Clarke (England) 1-4
Prelims (last 16)
69kg Kieran Molloy (Ireland) beat Ruben Veciunoa (Belgium) 5-0
91kg Kiril Afanasev (Ireland) beat David Michalek (Slovakia) 4-1
Prelims (last 16)
64kg Wayne Kelly (Ireland) beat Petr Novak (Czech Republic) 5-0
Prelims (last 16)
75kg Michael Nevin (Ireland) beat Stepan Nikitin (Germany) 5-0
64kg Wayne Kelly (Ireland) lost to Dmitry Galogot (Moldova) 0-5
69kg Kieran Molloy (Ireland) beat Vincenzo Arecchiai (Italy) 3-1
91kg Kiril Afanasev (Ireland) lost to Toni Filipi (Croatia) 0-5
56kg Kurt Walker (Ireland) beat Jaroslav Iwanow (Poland) 5-0
75kg Michael Nevin (Ireland) lost to Carl Fail (England) RSCI2
56kg Kurt Walker (Ireland) beat Artyush Gomtsyun (Georgia) 5-0
69kg Kieran Molloy (Ireland) lost to Pat McCormack (England) 0-5
56kg Kurt Walker (Ireland) beat Peter McGrail (England) 3-2
52kg Conor Quinn (Clonard BC)
56kg Kurt Walker (Canal BC) (Gold)
64kg Wayne Kelly (Portlaoise BC)
69kg Kieran Molloy (Oughterard BC) (Bronze)
75kg Michael Nevin (Portlaoise BC)
91kg Kirill Afanasev (Smithfield BC)
91kg+ Dean Gardiner (Clonmel BC) Cpt
Team Manager: Stephen Molloy
Coaches: John Conlan & Eoin Pluck
Physiotherapist: Seamus Caffrey
Team Doctor: Jim Clover- Team Doctor
Sports Physiologist: Damian Martin
Referee & Judge: Jim Murrin- R&J