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Irish joy alongside my sister would be so special: Walsh

Family fortunes: Aidan Walsh and his sister Michaela show off their Commonwealth Games medals and are now both gunning for Irish Elite success
Family fortunes: Aidan Walsh and his sister Michaela show off their Commonwealth Games medals and are now both gunning for Irish Elite success
David Kelly

By David Kelly

Aidan Walsh has dreamt of the moment he and sister Michaela would become Irish Elite champions on the same night and tomorrow evening in Dublin he believes it will become a reality.

The 22-year-old Monkstown club boxer will be seeking to win his first title when he clashes with Cork's Callum Walsh, having defeated former champion Kieran Molloy in the quarter-finals and comprehensively outpointed Ryan O'Rourke in the semi-finals on Monday night.

Welterweight Walsh, a Commonwealth Games silver medallist in 2018, has been making great strides over the past 18 months and when representing Ireland at the World Championships in Russia in September he only exited at the hands of the No.2-ranked boxer.

Guided by Monkstown coach Paul Johnston, 25-year-old sister Michaela has also made great progress, having won a silver medal at the European Games in the summer - only losing the final on a split decision. Now, they have the chance to enjoy a special moment in Dublin's National Stadium.

"I really can't wait for Friday night. I've been there many years watching Michaela, enjoying the atmosphere and believing that one day I would have my chance to win the Irish Elite title. Now Michaela and I have the opportunity to make history - brother and sister winning Irish titles on the same night," said Walsh.

"We've both given our lives to the sport so it means so much to have this opportunity. We've always been there for each other supporting one another and I really don't think I would have been boxing if it hadn't been for Michaela.

"I know it's going to be a hard fight but that's what I expect every time I box. I always have it in my head that the guy I'm facing is a world champion. For both Michaela and I to go away with the Irish titles would be very special - and not just for us but for my family and everyone at the club.

"Being at Monkstown has been great for us over the past three years. I really feel that I have developed as a boxer and a person - it's more than just doing well in boxing."

These Championships - the second Irish Elites of 2019 - have been held in order to help finalise who will be representing Ireland at the Olympic qualifying event in London next March with places at Tokyo 2020 on the line.

Having performed so well at the World Championships, Aidan is brimming with confidence and insists that his full focus is on booking a seat on the plane to Tokyo.

"I haven't been told what a win in the Irish final would mean but obviously the qualifiers are in March and I want to be there. I'm just focused on my next fight and looking to improve because you can never stand still," added Aidan.

"Being at the World Championships was a great experience. I had two fights and both were completely different and I think they showed that I have improved, that I can adapt my style, and that is so important at the highest level.

"Watching the guys from Kazakhstan and the Cubans, you can see how well they adapt to whatever challenge is in front of them and that is something I am aware of. I'm only 22 and as far as I'm concerned I'm just getting started."

Tomorrow night's finals will also see young Barry McReynolds bidding for 60kg glory when he tangles with Brandon McCarthy of St Michael's Athy, while Tyrone's Jude Gallagher shoots for 51kg success on the back of a fine win over Adam Hession in the semi-finals. He now faces Regan Buckley.

"I feel I'm getting better with each fight in this tournament but we aren't finished yet. I'm really looking forward to the final," said Gallagher.

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