Kellie Harrington is an Olympic Champion.
The Dublin boxing star wrote herself into the history books as she overcame Brazil’s Beatriz Ferreira in an epic clash to become only the third ever Irish woman to take gold at an Olympic Games.
Coming into the fight, it was clear that the two best amateur lightweight boxers of the world were in the final. Ferreira’s amateur record stood at 73 wins and 7 losses. Kellie Harringtons, 73 wins, 18 losses and one draw. Both fighters won the World Lightweight Championships in 2019 and 2018 respectively. All roads pointed to timeless classic and it didn’t disappoint.
Kellie Harrington beat the Brazilian ‘Beast’ over three tense and all-action rounds. Despite going 3-2 down in the first round, Harrington showed exactly why she was the top ranked seed coming into the Games as she rallied and showed her flawless boxing skills and IQ to incredibly take the fight 5-0 by Unanimous Decision.
— Olympics (@Olympics) August 8, 2021
The first round began how it was expected to play out. Brazil’s Ferreira was dogged and relentless. She pressed Harrington on the front foot and her power was evident to see as when she did land, Harrington thought twice about coming into engage. With Harrington boxing behind her jab and timing beautiful hooks of her own, the first round narrowly went to the Brazilian.
It was the second round where Harrington stole the show. Learning from the opener and listening to both her coaches in the corner, John Conlon and Zaur Anita the tide turned. The Dubliner began to slip more shots and found her range. She boxed beautifully, picking off the Brazilian as she showed patience to counter-punch to perfection. A massive three minutes saw Harrington flip the scorecard on it’s head as all five cards had it in favour of Harrington.
20-18 up on two cards, Harrington ‘just’ needed to win the third on one of the three level cards to take the final round. With so much on the line both fighters left everything they had in the ring. As Harrington looked to close out the victory, she began to frustrate her opponent as she went in for the clinch and received a few warnings from the Sri Lankan referee. The pair exchanged some ferocious shots in the final few seconds but as soon as the final belt went, they embraced each other knowing they put on one hell of a show.
The fight went to the judges scorecards and with the announcer declaring that the victory was by ‘Unanimous Decision’ it was clear that Harrington was going to be declared the winner. A few seconds later the announcer declared that the winner came from the “RED CORNER” as Harrington’s arm was held aloft and she became the third Irish boxer in history to come home with a gold medal.
'And the winner, by unanimous decision....'
How. Sweet. It. Is.#olympics #tokyo2020 #RTESport #boxing
📺 Watch live - https://t.co/IpdMKF55tD
📱 Updates – https://t.co/huAtW8EXqg pic.twitter.com/XQBvLsw479
— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) August 8, 2021
The St Mary’s Boxer follows in the footsteps of Katie Taylor to become an Olympic Champion.
Harrington spoke of her sense of relief and pride after clinching victory.
"It's just fantastic. I can't wait to get back home," she told RTÉ Sport. "I'm absolutely exhausted to be honest. What a journey, it's just fantastic."
"There have been times in my career when people say the whole country is behind you. This time I really, really feel the whole country is behind me,"
"I have no words," she said. "The hard work, dedication, sacrifice that has gone into this. The lonely moments, the tears. My family knows, my coaches know, the coaches here know, it hasn't even hit yet.
"I'm crying as I have a sense of relief. When I get back and I'm in my room on my own, or when I get to the team, it will hit, but I don't know, I'm just relieved.
"This is the stuff of dreams"
An emotional and joyous @Kelly64kg has been reacting to her #Tokyo2020 gold medal win #Olympics #RTESport
📺 Watch live - https://t.co/yeoFtHU1S3
📱 Updates – https://t.co/0gOUdPX1p1 pic.twitter.com/BZigBW2MpS
— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) August 8, 2021