Ireland won gold in doubles at the World Women’s Boxing Championships in Istanbul, with Amy Broadhurst and Lisa O’Rourke crowned champions in an unforgettable 30 minutes for Irish amateur boxing.
ot since the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, when Michael Carruth and Wayne McCullough won gold and silver in the same workout, there has been a comparable moment.
25-year-old Amy Broadhurst of Dundalk controlled her last light welterweight welterweight bout against Algerian Imane Khelif, earning a well-deserved unanimous victory over the Tokyo Olympian.
Things were much closer in O’Rourke’s light middleweight decision. Halfway through there were fears that the 20-year-old Castlerea native, who was making her debut at this level, would fall victim to the vagaries of the rating system.
But with the fight hanging in the balance, O’Rourke belied her inexperience and delivered a competent final three minutes, enough to convince four of the ringside officials to agree with her.
The new champions will also each take home a winner’s check for $100,000, which is life-changing for amateur fighters. In the case of O’Rourke, she has never been funded by Sport Ireland and has yet to win an Irish Elite title.
But she underscored her potential at the European Under-22 Championships earlier this year when she won the gold medal. But working alongside Katie Taylor – who won five world titles – Kellie Harrington and Michael Conlan and Amy Broadhurst as Ireland’s only world champion was beyond her wildest dreams.
Although he has now stepped down as head of the IABA’s High Performance Unit, Bernard Dunne played a key role in the career development of both fighters, which brought them to Tokyo for Ireland’s pre-Olympic camp last year.
It was another night that showed the tactical acumen of Ireland head coach Zaur Antia as the two girls executed perfect battle plans.
First up was Broadhurst, who is probably better suited to the lightweight class. But this was her fifth time performing on the level and that made it important.
She gave away five inches to her opponent, who lost to Olympic gold medalist Kellie Harrington in the quarterfinals in Tokyo last year.
In the opening 30 seconds, Khelif used her jab to convincing effect, but when Broadhurst found her reach, she particularly peppered the Algerian with body shots, doing enough to create a crucial 3-2 advantage by the end of the first round.
The Algerian had little success against Broadhurst’s tighter guard in the second round and the Irish champion’s dominance was such that two of the judges decided the second round in her favor 10-8. Only a catastrophic failure could now deprive Broadhurst of the gold.
Broadhurst used her experience to dominate the final verse and she received nods from all five ringside officials to secure the biggest win of her career with scorecards of 29-28, 29-28, 30-26, 29-28, 30-26
Mozambique’s Lisa O’Rourke’s opponent, Alcinda Paguane, was eight years older and far more experienced, having won the African Cup of Nations and boxed at last year’s Olympics and the 2018 World Championships. But nothing fazed O’Rourke in Turkey.
Her athletic ability and excellent footwork allow her to move around the ring and stay out of reach. Paguane, a southpaw, had to chase O’Rourke, who mostly boxed with her backfoot, but delivered the clearer shots in a tight first round.
Three of the judges nodded to the Roscommon woman. Paguane changed tactics, slightly focusing on body shots in the second.
Some judges prefer fighters who go forward. Still, the Algerian official’s decision to win the round 10-8 in favor of Alcinda was nothing short of ridiculous.
Two of the judges gave O’Rourke the round again while the remaining two paguanas nodded. This meant the fight was still in the crucible before the final stanza.
O’Rourke was two points ahead with two maps, three points behind with one, while the other two held the contest level at 19-19 each.
O’Rourke changed her style slightly in the crucial third round. For the first time in the Championship, she opted to fight with the front foot and once again she seemed to be landing the clearer shots. All but the Algerian judge agreed, and she secured a famous victory in a 4-1 majority ruling.
It is the first time since the 2016 World Cup that Ireland return with two medals.
Kellie Harrington and Katie Taylor won silver and bronze respectively in Astana, but Broadhurst and O’Rourke will take home two gold medals.
https://www.independent.ie/sport/other-sports/boxing/lisa-orourke-and-amy-broadhurst-win-gold-medals-at-womens-world-boxing-championships-in-istanbul-41667514.html Lisa O’Rourke and Amy Broadhurst win gold medals at the World Women’s Boxing Championships in Istanbul