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Michaela Walsh and Amy Broadhurst secure wins at world championship as Aoife O’Rourke is eliminated

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Michaela Walsh has won her opening fight at the world championships. Image credit: Sportsfile.

Michaela Walsh has won her opening fight at the world championships. Image credit: Sportsfile.

SPORTSFILE

Michaela Walsh has won her opening fight at the world championships. Image credit: Sportsfile.

Ireland’s Michaela Walsh and Amy Broadhurst have won their opening bouts at the world championships, but Aoife O’Rourke bowed out in this afternoon’s session in Istanbul.

Amy Broadhurst, who sparred with world professional champion Katie Taylor before her fight in Madison Square Garden, underlined her class with a dominant performance in the light welterweight division against Sara Beram from Croatia.

Broadhurst was in complete control from the first bell and the outclassed Croatian, who was forced to take a standing count in the second round. The Irish fighter strolled to a unanimous 5-0 win.

Whereas three of the judges scored the fight the anticipated 30-27, there were two outliers – the Chinese judge gave the fight to Broadhurst 30-25 but his Belgian counterpart only gave her victory by a one-point margin (29-28). She will be in action again on Sunday.

Tokyo Olympian and double Commonwealth medallist Michaela Walsh had too much ring craft and nous for her American opponent, Amelia Moore.

The Belfast featherweight simply stayed out of range for most of the three rounds and managed to land the clearer shots on her way to a 30-27, 30-27, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28 victory.

But Billy Walsh and his American team got level with the Irish when the highly-rated Naomi Graham edged out Ireland’s Olympian Aoife O’Rourke on a majority 4-1 decision in a middleweight bout.

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The pair were victims of the decision of the IBA to have an open draw as they would have almost certainly been kept apart until later if they were seeded.

Graham (32), a serving member of the US Armed Forces, won a bronze medal at the 2018 world championship and is a former Pan American middleweight amateur champion. Like O’Rourke, she was beaten in the first round at the Tokyo Olympics but had the benefit of a win under her belt in Istanbul.

O’Rourke was facing an uphill struggle after losing the first round 3-2 and the American had her place in the next round virtually wrapped up after six minutes of action, despite O’Rourke’s best efforts. Graham did her best work late in all the rounds, which probably caught the judges’ eyes.

In the evening session, Carla McNaul faces Burundi’s Ornella Havyarimania in a 52kg contest.


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