Fighting Irish get off to impressive start in Sofia

Former World Elite champion Kellie Harrington will be aiming to build on Ireland’s impressive start at the 71st Strandja multi-nations in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Fighting Irish get off to impressive start in Sofia

Former World Elite champion Kellie Harrington will be aiming to build on Ireland’s impressive start at the 71st Strandja multi-nations in Sofia, Bulgaria.

The Dublin lightweight meets Poland’s European Elite finalist Aneta Rygielska on Wednesday in her first bout since missing the European Games final last June with a hand injury.

Ireland’s Michaela Walsh, Christina Desmond, Ceire Smith, Aoife O’Rourke, George Bates, and Kiril Afanasev won their preliminary round bouts on the opening day of competition on Tuesday.

Antrim featherweight Walsh outpointed America’s Gutierrez Guadaloupe, a former pro fighter who had ex-Irish head coach Billy Walsh, the USA chief seconds, working her corner.

Roscommon middleweight O’Rourke, the current European Elite champion, beat Sweden’s Love Holgersson but Galway super-heavy Antoine O Griofa lost to Italy’s two-time Olympic finalist Clemente Russo.

Meanwhile, Dundalk southpaw Amy Broadhurst, who’s doubling up at lightweight with Harrington, is in against a familiar foe on Wednesday.

The European U22 champion meets Katie Taylor’s Rio 2016 conqueror Mira Potkonen who beat Broadhurst at the World and European Championships last year.

The Irish squad are building toward the European qualifiers for Tokyo 2020 which begin in London on March 13.

Some 77 Olympic places — 50 men and 27 women — will be up for grabs in London.

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