In an historic day for Irish boxing, both Amy Broadhurst and Lisa O’Rourke won their semi-final bouts at the women’s boxing World Championships in Turkey to have two female Irish boxers in world finals for the first time.
The bouts took place just minutes apart in Istanbul with Broadhurst coming through her semi-final against India’s Parveen in a 4-1 split decision and O’Rourke landing her prize 30 minutes later with a wonderful exhibition against hometown boxer Sema Caliskan. The judges gave the 20-year-old her win by unanimous decision.
Irish light welterweight, Broadhurst, who helped Katie Taylor in her sparring before her win over Amanda Serrano in Madison Square Garden earlier this month, won her bout with bravery and strength, while O'Rourke comprehensively out boxed her opponent.
The pair are the first Irish female boxers since Kellie Harrington to have reached a world championship final and only the third and fourth Irish boxers in history to have made the final after five-time winner Taylor and Harrington, who won her world crown in New Delhi in 2018.
In a tight contest, 25-year-old Broadhurst’s strength gave her the edge after a strong first round. The Irish southpaw pushed back her Indian opponent and was more aggressive stalking her around the ring from the beginning.
All five judges gave the first round to Broadhurst 5-0, which sparked a more engaging second three minutes from Parveen. Again it was close, although the 22-year-old Indian was throwing more leather and scoring. Broadhurst appeared to back off more than in the first round with the judges seeing it in Parveen’s favour and awarding her the round 3-2.
The final round was more of the same with Broadhurst trying to land her left backhand but Parveen’s jab keeping her at bay. A flourish in the final 30 seconds from Broadhurst caught the eye and might have been the phase that impressed the judges enough to hand the bout to her 4-1.
O’Rourke in her light middleweight contest was easily the more impressive boxer. Mixing it up but largely fighting from a distance, her movement and shot placement were much superior to her Turkish opponent.
The Castlerea native staggered Caliskan with a left at the end of the second round before going on to dominate the fight on all the judges’ cards. The limber O’Rourke was more accurate and at the beginning of the third round began with a combination that pushed Caliskan back into the corner. Her go-forward style and better accuracy impressed all five judges who gave it to the Irish girl 5-0.
Broadhurst and O’Rourke are now in line for a $100,000 first prize if they can win gold medals, the loser taking home a silver medal and $50,000. It is the first year of prize money in ‘amateur’ boxing.
O’Rourke will face Helena Panguane from Mozambique in the final with Dundalk southpaw Broadhurst facing Imane Khelfi. The slick Algerian came through against the Netherlands Chelsey Heijnen, while Panguane beat Kazak Valentina Khalzova. Both bouts take place on Friday.