Seven Irish fighters looking to turn bronze into more precious metal at European Championships

Ireland has already more than doubled their previous medal haul but hopes are high for some silver and gold

Already the Irish women’s boxing team has surpassed their best European Championship medal haul with seven bronze guaranteed, the chance of silver on Friday and gold if they can make it to Saturday’s finals in Montenegro.

Seven medals more than doubles Ireland’s previous best mark of three and follows on from the success of this year’s World Championships in Istanbul where Broadhurst and Lisa O’Rourke stood alongside Katie Taylor, Kellie Harrington and Michael Conlan as Ireland’s only amateur world champions.

It is difficult to find any Irish sport that has successfully raided the podium places at European level, even in rowing, the other Olympic sport that continues to routinely smash barriers.

With four Irish boxers competing in the afternoon session in Budva and three in the evening, minimum weight Shannon Sweeney, featherweight Michaela Walsh, light-welterweight Amy Broadhurst and light-middleweight Christina Desmond will be the first to try and upgrade their medals.


Both Sweeney from Mayo and Dundalk’s Broadhurst stopped their opponents, when they forced three standing counts in the quarter-finals, a mark of their current form and ease at which they have been able to compete at this level.

In the evening session, light-flyweight Caitlin Fryers, a bundle of Belfast energy from start to finish, meets Azeri boxer Anakhanim Ismayilova before Olympic lightweight champion Kellie Harrington steps into the ring.

All eyes will be on Harrington as it was the 60kg division in which she won her gold medal last year in the Tokyo Olympic Games and World Championship gold in Delhi in 2018.

Finally Castlerea’s Aoife O’Rourke, the 2029 European champion, faces Swedish middleweight Love Holgersson in the last Irish bout on the card.

There are 24 semi-finals scheduled for Friday and 12 finals on Saturday. The way things have unfolded, Ireland would hardly be overreaching to hope for three or four of the team to be punching for a gold medal on the final day.

Irish in action

Afternoon Session (from 1pm Irish time)

48kg Shannon Sweeney v Sevda Asenova (Bulgaria)

57kg Michaela Walsh v Irma Testa (Italy)

63kg Amy Broadhurst v Sara Beram (Croatia)

70kg Christina Desmond v Melissa Gemini (Italy)

Evening Session (from 4.30pm)

50kg Caitlin Fryers v Anakhanim Ismayilova (Azerbaijan)

60kg Kellie Harrington v Donjeta Sadiku (Kosovo)

75kg Aoife O’Rourke v Love Holgersson (Sweden)

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson is a sports writer with The Irish Times