Har­ring­ton the new golden girl

Ir­ish fighter stays out of trou­ble to land 60kg ti­tle by a 3-2 split de­ci­sion

The Irish Times - Monday - Sport - - Front Page - PHO­TO­GRAPH: SA­J­JAD HUS­SAIN/AFP/GETTY IM­AGES Johnny Wat­ter­son

Two years ago the story com­ing out of As­tana was how Katie Tay­lor had failed to win her sixth suc­ces­sive World Cham­pi­onship gold medal.

To that back­drop the sil­ver medal won by light wel­ter­weight Kel­lie Har­ring­ton was not so much over­looked but un­der-val­ued as part of the news cy­cle com­ing from Kaza­khstan.

Even though the tour­na­ment ended with Har­ring­ton win­ning a sil­ver medal and Tay­lor bronze, the fact that Tay­lor was beaten car­ried more im­port than Ire­land’s new emerg­ing tal­ent. The coun­try couldn’t see much be­yond the Bray light­weight and the Rio Olympics. Har­ring­ton’s weight di­vi­sion wasn’t even an Olympic cat­e­gory.

There is some cir­cu­lar­ity about Har­ring­ton now tak­ing the ti­tle Tay­lor once dom­i­nated. Beat­ing Thai­land’s Su­da­porn Seesondee on a 3-2 split de­ci­sion to top the light­weight podium in New Delhi, In­dia, she de­servedly steps into where the woman who set stan­dards in world box­ing left off.

It has taken two years and the de­ci­sion to drop to 60kg for Har­ring­ton to fi­nally cre­ate her own aura as an out­stand­ing tal­ent, and after Tay­lor and Michael Con­lan be­comes just the third Ir­ish boxer to win a World Cham­pi­onship gold medal.

Har­ring­ton did it beat­ing qual­ity along the way with wins over Troy Gar­ton, home favourite Sarita Devi, Cana­dian Caro­line Veyre, and a tal­ented young Kazakh Ka­rina Ibrag­i­mova, be­fore the tight­est fifth bout against south­paw Su­da­porn Seesondee that di­vided the judges. Three of the five of­fi­cials went with the Ir­ish fighter, two with the Thai for a 3-2 split de­ci­sion.

Cel­e­brat­ing

“I’m still kind of numb right now to be hon­est,” said Har­ring­ton after cel­e­brat­ing vic­tory with her coaches Zaur An­tia and Dmitry Dim­itru at the Indira Gandhi Sport Com­plex.

“It won’t re­ally hit home un­til I get home. It’s been a long process since 2016. I wanted to come back and get a gold. I said I’d come back and get it.

“Some­times when peo­ple say they don’t be­lieve it. I said it and I be­lieved it. I worked in si­lence, came back and did the job.”

You would sus­pect there will be lit­tle si­lence on Seán Mc­Der­mott Street at 6pm to­day when Har­ring­ton, who ar­rived back in Ire­land on Sun­day, will re­ceive a civic re­cep­tion hosted by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Nial Ring.

On Sat­ur­day, Har­ring­ton once again showed her dis­ci­pline and com­po­sure un­der pres­sure, switch­ing her lead hand and stay­ing away from the heavy left that Seesondee was itch­ing to land through­out.

Har­ring­ton smartly stayed away from the most dam­ag­ing of Seesondee’s shots and landed enough of her own in scor­ing raids as she kept at jab­bing dis­tance.

There was good in­tel­li­gence from An­tia as vet­eran Seesondee was a bronze medal win­ner at light wel­ter­weight in the 2014 World Cham­pi­onships.

An ab­sorb­ing bout, it was never clearcut. Seesondee had elim­i­nated Mira Potko­nen ear­lier in the week, the fighter who won a bronze medal when she de­feated Tay­lor at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Su­perb de­fence

In the end it came down as much to the Ir­ish boxer’s su­perb de­fence and avoid­ance, of­ten sway­ing out of the way of Seesondee’s com­bi­na­tions and coun­ter­ing with her own scor­ing in flur­ries.

Har­ring­ton kept mov­ing through­out, and kept her left jab busy. She was the go-for­ward boxer in the first round and third rounds, although Seesondee stepped up the tempo in the se­cond. Even then it was dif­fi­cult to sep­a­rate the two as Har­ring­ton switched to south­paw and back to keep her op­po­nent think­ing.

Har­ring­ton was mov­ing freely and Seesondee, more set in

Kel­lie Har­ring­ton keeps her Thai op­po­nent at arm’s length dur­ing their 60kg fi­nal in New Delhi and (right) cel­e­brat­ing on the podium with her gold medal.

her stance, may have been the stronger boxer. But the Ir­ish light­weight didn’t al­low her­self be­come locked into a punch­ing duel.

Both box­ers were land­ing, and in the end Seesondee went look­ing to land long left back­hands with Har­ring­ton scor­ing in­side. It was the 28-year-old who got through more of­ten, Seesondee too of­ten wide of the mark.

Al­most dis­be­liev­ing that she had turned the fight, a tear­ful Har­ring­ton left the ring know­ing she is set­ting the world stan­dard for Tokyo qual­i­fi­ca­tion and a podium place in 2020.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.