Kellie Harrington wins Olympic gold after victory over Beatriz Ferreira in Tokyo

Dubliner follows Katie Taylor in 2012 to win gold after lightweight showdown on Sunday

Kellie Harrington’s family neighbourhood erupted in joy at her gold medal win in Tokyo. Video: Enda O'Dowd

 

It was worth the wait. After weeks and months of speculation, Kellie Harrington cemented her place in history by becoming the second Irish woman to win an Olympic gold medal in boxing and only the third in any sport after Katie Taylor and Michelle Smith de Bruin.

Harrington collapsed to her knees in Tokyo’s Kokugikan Arena when Sri Lankan referee Nelka Thampu went to the red corner as the announcer declared the Irish 31-year-old the new lightweight Olympic Champion.

Ireland have claimed the title twice in three Olympic Games since women’s boxing was introduced to the roster at London 2012, where Taylor won.

Ireland’s Kellie Harrington celebrates winning gold against Brazil’s Beatriz Ferreira in the women’s light Olympic Games (57-60kg) final bout at the Kokugikan Arena. Photo: Frank Franklin II/AP Photo
Ireland’s Kellie Harrington celebrates winning gold against Brazil’s Beatriz Ferreira in the women’s light Olympic Games (57-60kg) final bout at the Kokugikan Arena. Photo: Frank Franklin II/AP Photo

Beatriz Ferreira came out tattooed, a squat broad boxer pumping her fists and ready to fight. It was that she did from the beginning with Harrington boxing from a distance and skilfully keeping away from the flying fists.

Again, Harrington’s tactics won out and, as Ferreira marched forward relentlessly in all three rounds, Harrington’s boxing and subtle scoring impressed the judges who scored her the winner by unanimous decision, 29-28, 30-27, 29-28, 29-28, 30-27.

Harrington lost the first round on a split decision 3-2 as Ferreira chased her around the ring eager for contact. Just two of the five judges gave the round to the Irish boxer.

But Harrington, staying patient and sticking with her instructions to fight from a distance and not become involved in a scrap was scoring meticulously.

Ferreira was all flailing arms and pushing forward but Harrington picked her points as she moved around the ring, never falling into the trap of going toe-to-toe.

Ireland’s Kellie Harrington celebrates winning gold against Brazil’s Beatriz Ferreira in the women’s light Olympic Games (57-60kg) final bout at the Kokugikan Arena. Photo: Frank Franklin II/AP Photo
Ireland’s Kellie Harrington celebrates winning gold against Brazil’s Beatriz Ferreira in the women’s light Olympic Games (57-60kg) final bout at the Kokugikan Arena. Photo: Frank Franklin II/AP Photo

All five judges scored Harrington the 10-9 winner of the second round much to the displeasure of the small Brazilian contingent in the arena. While Ferreira was landing and scoring, Harrington boxed with nuance and purpose, never wavering from her move-and-hit style.

In the end her expression was one of disbelief, her coaches Zaur Antia and John Conlan at ringside and Bernard Dunne in the crowd throwing their arms into the air as Harrington went to her knees as the new Olympic champion.

All five of the judges gave her the third round, a unanimous decision to Ireland and a gold medal to Dublin’s north inner city.

Tokyo 2020

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