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Ireland’s Kurt Walker claims stunning victory against reigning world champion

Kurt Walker

Irish featherweight boxer Kurt Walker booked his place in the Olympics quarter-finals, after beating reigning world champion Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov.

Mirzakhalilov of Uzbekistan won the gold medal in the 2019 AIBA World Boxing Championships and was the favourite to win gold again at this year’s Olympics.

However, Lisburn native Walker had other ideas and secured a 4-1 split decision against the pre-tournament favourite to secure his place in the quarter-finals of the men’s featherweight division.

Kurt Walker outclasses reigning world champion.

The 26-year-old has won a couple of gold medals himself, having won gold at the 2019 European Games at bantamweight, as well as the bantamweight gold medal at the 2018 EU Championships.

However, Walker was certainly the underdog going into the last 16 Olympic bout, but four of the five judges deemed the Irishman to be the superior fighter in the end.

Walker was speaking to RTÉ after his fight and revealed that he was always confident about getting the better of the gold medal favourite.

‘I knew I was smarter and faster than him.’

“My confidence was through the roof, there are always doubts in your head before the fight, but the team believed in me. I believed it too and it has happened,” Walker said.

“I knew I was smarter and faster than him and that’s enough to win me a fight in most cases. I knew he was going to come on strong but he was very predictable and I was able to read him to my benefit.”

Walker will now fight Duke Ragan of the United States in his next bout, where a win against his American opponent would guarantee him at least a bronze medal.

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