For the first time, Ireland will have two female boxers fighting for gold medals at the same Women’s World Championship.
Amy Broadhurst and 20-year-old light middleweight Lisa O’Rourke secured historic victories in Istanbul this afternoon, securing at least silver medals plus guaranteed prize money of €43,000 each.
The pair are aiming to become world champions with Katie Taylor and Kellie Harrington, which would net them €86,000 each and a gold medal.
While Broadhurst has been viewed as a potential champion for years, O’Rourke, who celebrated her 20th birthday last week, has emerged as the unsung Irish heroine.
Lisa, the younger sister of Tokyo Olympian Aoife, has achieved amazing form this year. In the spring she was crowned U-22 European champion, but that pales in comparison to boxing for gold in her World Championship debut.
Her win in the semifinals is all the more remarkable given that she deservedly made the decider against a hometown fighter, Sema Caliskan.
This is Broadhurst’s fifth appearance at the World Championships. The 25-year-old Dundalk southpaw was beaten in her previous four quarter-final appearances before finally smashing the glass ceiling in Istanbul.
She wrestled with world professional champion Katie Taylor earlier this year and has shown form throughout the championships.
She met 19-year-old Indian light welterweight Parveen Hooda in the semifinals.
In the first round, she used her skills impressively and won the round with ease on all five judges’ cards. The Indian decided her best bet was to turn the competition into a brawl, and she did just that in round two. She tied Broadhurst at every opportunity, which broke her rhythm.
Three of the judges awarded the parveen the round, leaving the fight in limbo for the final three minutes of action. Again Parveen did her best to disrupt Broadhurst but the Irish champion had more success getting her shots on target.
It was a close decision, but four of the judges gave her nods, allowing her to win the fight by a majority of 4-1 (30-27, 30-27, 29-28, 29-28, 28-29 ).
Broadhurst will meet Algerian Imane Khelif in the final – the latter was beaten by Kellie Harrington in the quarterfinals of the lightweight category at last year’s Tokyo Olympics.
Twenty minutes later it was Castlerea native Lisa O’Rourke – who boxes out of the Olympic Club in Galway – it was her turn to attempt to convert bronze to silver.
O’Rourke’s agility in the ring and exceptional footwork were a feature of her performances in Istanbul.
She used those traits impressively in the opening round, but it was Caliskan who outplayed her in the judges’ eyes, 3-2 in their favor. But O’Rourke belied her inexperience at that level as she dominated the second round, landing a string of shots on goal and doing enough to convince all five judges to give her the nod.
Going into the last round, O’Rourke was two maps ahead with three judges judging the level of the fight – so it all depended on the last of the three rounds. O’Rourke delivered when it mattered. The round was summed up in the final second as O’Rourke deftly avoided a desperate swing from Caliskan.
All but one judge gave O’Rourke the round, allowing her to record a unanimous victory on scorecards of 30-27, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28.
In the final she meets Helena Alcinda from Mozambique. The latter has already made history by becoming the first female boxer in her country to win a medal at world championship level.
Regardless of how the pair fare in their final, they are now entitled to extra funding from Sport Ireland. Both face a dilemma as none of their weight classes are currently included in the Paris Olympic program.
Broadhurst, who will represent Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham later this summer, could return to lightweight for Paris but that would mean challenging Kellie Harrington. Alternatively, she could move up to 140 lb welterweight.
The choices O’Rourke faces are no less severe. She could try to reach the 66kg division for Paris – the alternative is moving up to middleweight at 75kg where she would have to challenge her older sister.
However, there is so much uncertainty about the boxing tournament at the Paris Olympics that the weights could still be changed if boxing is retained for the 2024 games.
Katie Taylor has won five golds and one bronze at World Championship level, while current Olympic gold medalist Harrington – who was ruled out of Istanbul through injury – has previously won a gold and a silver medal.
https://www.independent.ie/sport/other-sports/boxing/history-made-as-amy-broadhurst-and-lisa-orourke-will-be-fighting-for-gold-at-the-same-world-championships-41663287.html History will be made as Amy Broadhurst and Lisa O’Rourke will fight for gold at the same World Championships