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Michael Conlan backs ‘nightmare’ Kurt Walker to bring home Olympic gold

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On fire: Kurt Walker is one victory away from securing a medal in Tokyo. Credit: Frank Franklin/Getty Images

On fire: Kurt Walker is one victory away from securing a medal in Tokyo. Credit: Frank Franklin/Getty Images

Getty Images

On fire: Kurt Walker is one victory away from securing a medal in Tokyo. Credit: Frank Franklin/Getty Images

Five years on from his Olympic agony, Michael Conlan believes Kurt Walker can go all the way to a gold medal in Tokyo.

Walker produced one of the finest Olympic ring performances by an Irish boxer when securing his place in Sunday’s quarter-final, defeating reigning World champion Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov of Uzbekistan. Now he looks ahead to a showdown with American Duke Ragan to seal at least a featherweight bronze.

Conlan, an Olympic bronze medallist in 2012 and World amateur champion, was robbed of a possible gold medal in 2016 which ultimately paved the way to him turning professional. But, he believes Walker has given himself a great chance of standing on top of the podium.

“I knew Kurt would beat the Uzbek. The way he boxed in his first bout I could see that he is so hungry for this and he had the style to beat him. Kurt’s style is a nightmare for anyone and I’m certain that be beats the Yank, Ragan,” said Conlan, whose father John is in Walker’s corner in Tokyo.

“He can get the bronze and then I hope move on and eclipse me by getting the gold. I know how much hard work he has been putting in and how he kept going even though he he was struggling after the premature birth of his daughter. My dad was with him all the way through that and Kurt deserves a lot of credit for how he has got himself in such great shape – he seems to be peaking at the right time.”

Team Ireland are celebrating their first gold medal after rowers Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy triumphed in the lightweight men’s double sculls.

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