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I have score to settle at the Commonwealth Games after silver in 2014 and 2018, says Michaela Walsh while brother Aidan is ready to be a ‘greyhound’ ahead of his Semi-final

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Michaela Walsh of Team Northern Ireland punches Botswana’s Keamogetse Sadie Kenosi during the Women’s Featherweight Quarter-Final

Michaela Walsh of Team Northern Ireland punches Botswana’s Keamogetse Sadie Kenosi during the Women’s Featherweight Quarter-Final

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Aidan Walsh of Team Northern Ireland punches England’s Mohammed Harris Akbar during their Light Middle Quarter-Final

Aidan Walsh of Team Northern Ireland punches England’s Mohammed Harris Akbar during their Light Middle Quarter-Final

Getty Images

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Michaela Walsh of Team Northern Ireland punches Botswana’s Keamogetse Sadie Kenosi during the Women’s Featherweight Quarter-Final

Michaela Walsh has “unfinished business” with the Commonwealth Games. Silver in 2014. Silver in 2018. The Belfast woman is determined to strike gold in 2022.

If things go according to plan her brother Aidan will be standing on the top step on Sunday too after both came through contrasting Quarter-Finals at the NEC in Birmingham yesterday. Bronze is assured but as the Team NI story goes, in boxing that’s not what they’re here for.

Michaela was first up, overcoming the taller and rangy Keamogetse Kenosi from Botswana by unanimous decision in their featherweight contest.

It was a cruise for Walsh, who says she has matured as a boxer and as a person in recent years.

Certainly in the interview area, she came across as someone in a good place and content with life.

“I’ve matured as a person and a fighter,” said Walsh, who came into the public eye eight years ago when losing a split decision in the first women’s boxing Final in the Commonwealth Games to England’s Olympic great Nicola Adams.

“Boxing is only a sport. It doesn’t define who I am. It just adds to who I am. I’m very proud of where I’ve got to and I believe if I perform to my best I can win and enjoy it. That’s the main thing, to enjoy my boxing and take things day by day and enjoy life.

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“The Commonwealths is one of the biggest competitions and I do feel a sense of unfinished business and I have come back for that.

“I knew I could go pro but I have unfinished business with the Commonwealths and it is something I am hoping to take care of when I’m here.”

On her victory, Walsh added: “I was one of our last fighters to get in the ring and I have been trying to keep my focus and composure. I think I did that. With the years of experience I’ve had I know how to deal with it.

“I didn’t feel that much pressure. I just enjoyed every minute. I maybe could have put a little bit of a push on and done more but I did what the coaches asked me to do. They are happy with my performance and I’m happy.

“There’s more to come. We just had to be smart as she was a very big opponent.

“As always with the first fight at any competition it takes a while to get going but I know I can improve.”

Michaela, who will face South Africa’s Philwokuhle Sbusisiwe Mnguni in the Semi-Finals, spoke of the spirit in the Northern Ireland camp driving the team on and sibling Aidan echoed similar feelings after he claimed an impressive 3-2 success against England’s European champion Harris Akbar in the light-middleweight division.

The 25-year-old Olympic bronze medal winner in Tokyo showed the ring craft for which he is renowned to frustrate his opponent, who felt the judges’ decision ought to have gone the other way.

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Aidan Walsh of Team Northern Ireland punches England’s Mohammed Harris Akbar during their Light Middle Quarter-Final

Aidan Walsh of Team Northern Ireland punches England’s Mohammed Harris Akbar during their Light Middle Quarter-Final

Getty Images

Aidan Walsh of Team Northern Ireland punches England’s Mohammed Harris Akbar during their Light Middle Quarter-Final

Walsh is a laid back character who loves nothing more than fishing, kayaking and enjoying a Chinese in his caravan back home. He’s also a brilliant boxer and having defeated the dangerous Akbar is now favourite to win gold.

“It has been a great journey. I’m just happy to be here competing regardless of the colours of medals, win, lose or draw,” he said.

“I’m happy to be enjoying the experience with my family, great coaches and great people around me.

“In a few years’ time I could be retired. Who knows what the journey holds. I’m just happy to be here with my sister, coaches and friends. It’s amazing.”

Walsh suffered a cut during his Quarter-Final triumph but there are no issues going forward there. He said he thought “it was a bit of sweat” and that he kept “composed and calm” throughout.

Asked what he will do before tomorrow’s Semi-Final against Garan Croft from Wales, the answer was classic Aidan.

“Do you ever look at greyhounds, how fast they are, but they’re couch potatoes, just lying in bed all day and then when they go to perform, they perform. I’ll lie in bed, eat plenty and just enjoy the next few days. I’ll relax, maybe do a wee bit of training here or there, just listen to the body,” stated Walsh.

He added: “After the Olympics I maybe wanted to chill out, it gave me a new perspective on life, what I was doing.

“I just want to be a normal person, go to the caravan with my girlfriend after this, walk the dog, get a Chinese, get a tin of Coke and I’m happy enough to sit and relax and be a couch potato for another six months.”

On the success of the Team NI boxing squad, who are going to be in numerous Semi-Finals tomorrow, Walsh commented: “It just shows how good the coaches are — look at the medals they’re producing.

“It’s crazy. We don’t even train together all year round and look at the performances we’re getting.

“Every boxer on the whole team is so talented.

“To get in that ring, to have the courage to step inside that ring is phenomenal. For anybody to step inside that ring, they have my respect.”


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