Michaela Walsh insisted on winning Irish Elite Senior title before Commonwealth Games trip


Of the 13 boxers picked to represent Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games in Australia this April, just one entered the National Elite Senior Championships.

Of course, with a major, high-profile, tournament coming up in just a matter of weeks, it is more than understandable that boxers wanted to focus and preserve themselves for the Gold Coast.

However, there was no stopping Belfast featherweight Michaela Walsh who was desperate to be crowned Irish champion once again.

It’s all part of a long-term plan for the Monkstown boxer who picked up her seventh Elite title at the weekend with a dominant win over Dervla Duffy.

‘Gold Medals Only’ is Walsh’s mantra and, having picked up top prize at the EUs last year, the 24-year-old wants to top as many podiums as possible.

Walsh explained to Irish-Boxing.com that, out of the Commonwealth Games team, “I was the only one that did the Elites because we were sort of advised not to do them. But, because it’s such a big year with the Europeans and Worlds, and because I missed the last Seniors through injury, I had my mind set that I was doing them

“Obviously the focus now is the Commonwealths, but everyone before was ‘Gold Coast, Gold Coast, Gold Coast’ – but my mind was set on winning the Elites.”

“I had prepared to fight last week but I got the call on Thursday to say that the girl [Tiegan Russell] had pulled out. I just refocused and got the job done.”

Her first fight back up at featherweight having won the Ulster Seniors in November via walkover, Walsh was pleased with her display.

The 2014 Commonwealth Games silver medalist at flyweight described how “I’m happy with the win. I felt very comfortable. I’ve been training so hard.”

“This is going to be a big year for me, especially now at the new weight. I’m proving how strong I am. Dervla’s a strong 57kg, but I felt very strong. I’m doing a lot of S&C, training for the Commonwealths, that helped me.”

It was straight back into camp too for the older sister of Ulster welterweight champ Aidan who returned to training on Monday “I don’t need a break,” she stated. “That felt like a sparring session in there. It was good to get the rounds in.”

Walsh is a reinvigorated boxer having switched clubs from Holy Family to Monkstown.

She noted how “since I joined up with Monkstown in June and have been working with Pauly Johnston, I feel I’m a completely different boxer, and I’d like to thank him, he’s definitely brought the best out of me. I felt there for a while that I was going a wee bit stale, he got me back and it showed in the EUs.”

“Boxing isn’t a sport, it’s my life. I live like an athlete. I probably live a better life than most professional boxers, me and my brother Aidan, we’re both 100% dedicated. Hopefully it will all pay off at the Gold Coast.”

Phot Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: [email protected]