Belfast Telegraph

Classy Michaela Walsh makes history at Commonwealth Games

By Steven Beacom

Michaela Walsh will forever be a history maker. The young Belfast woman is also likely to be the subject of a quiz question in the future.

Who was the first female to win a boxing match at the Commonwealth Games? Our Michaela, that's who!

On the strength of her dazzling victory last night in the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre over Thessa Dumas from Mauritius, she might trump the above by becoming the first female to win gold at the Commonwealth Games.

Long way to go yet, but watch out for this girl. There's something about Michaela.

With women's boxing making its Commonwealth bow in Glasgow, there was much interest in last night's opening bout involving the fairer sex.

Fascination in the crowd gave way to admiration as the 20-year-old flyweight (48-51kg) from the Holy Family club gave an outstanding exhibition of her boxing skills.

Her dad, who she “tortured” as a kid to let her take part in the sport can feel extremely proud of his girl today. All of the Walsh clan can, as well as Northern Ireland boxing and sport as a whole.

The Ulster men have been magnificent in Glasgow. Well, Walsh did not let the girls down.

The women's contests are four two minute rounds, as opposed to three three minute rounds for the men. The ladies also wear headguards while the blokes don't.

Bar that, the same rules apply.

Right from the first bell Walsh was aggressive taking the fight to her opponent, delivering wicked combinations. Even from early on, it was clear to see a gulf in class between the fighters with the teenager from Mauritius unable to cope with the extra pace in the feet and power in the gloves of Michaela.

As the fight continued, Walsh, wearing red, chose her moments to land blows to the head and body in an intelligent display, appreciated by the audience, especially the Northern Ireland girl's vocal supporters.

To get used to the atmosphere in the hall before her fight, wisely she had attended bouts involving team-mates Paddy Barnes and Steven Donnelly.

It was no surprise come the end of the fourth round that Walsh, whose balance is a real hallmark of her work, had won a unanimous points decision. For the record the scores from three judges were: 40-34, 40-36, 40-36.

Walsh, a multiple Irish senior champion who had a superb junior career, will now face Jamaica’s Joy Sarah Rae in tomorrow's quarter-finals when a win will assure her of a medal. Lightweight Alana Audley-Murphy will also make her Commonwealth Games debut then representing Northern Ireland in the last eight.

But last night was all about Walsh and with her self belief and ability, anything is possible.

If all goes to plan, then Walsh would meet Olympic Champion and England favourite Nicola Adams in the final, who was also a convincing winner last night on what was a historic and memorable evening in Glasgow.

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