Kellie Harrington finally reach the top step of the podium to get the reward her prodigious talent deserves as she stepped up from her 2016 world silver medal to win gold at the World Boxing Championships in New Delhi.
She follows Michael Conlon and Katie Taylor in becoming the third Irish boxer to take a world gold, beating Thailand’s Sudaporn Seesondee in the lightweight final. That honour added to the north inner-city woman’s light welterweight final from the world championships in Astana two years ago.
The finale was an unsurprisingly cagey affair early on with both fighters landing few punches but Harrington coming into her own in the closing stages.
Harrington used her movement to pressure Seesondee in the second round and landed a number of combinations but was hit back towards the end of the round. The third round went the opposite way, with Seesondee forced to come out more aggressively. Harrington evaded the worst of it, and finished strongly.
It was not clear who was going to take the fight at the bell, though, and the judges agreed it was an incredibly close affair, scoring the final in Harrington’s favour on a split decision, 3-2.
“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,” The Dubliner said afterwards.
“Sometimes when people say that, they don’t believe it. I said it and I believed it. I worked in silence, came back and did the job.”
Harrington, who works in St Vincent’s hospital part time around her boxing work, has set her sights on an even bigger goal in the form of taking gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
“I moved down to 60kg because it’s an Olympic weight and I wanted to succeed at 60. It’s been great so far,” the St Mary’s boxer told RTÉ Sport.
“It’s been years coming. To finally reach my goal is amazing, but we’re not finished yet. We’re aiming for Tokyo.
“To stand on top of that podium and have our flag raised above my head, it was just so emotional for me, the best feeling ever.
“What Katie Taylor did, I’m trying to do it. I’m hoping to encourage girls and be the next role model, try to get the best out of anyone I can. If I can help one person on the way I’ll be happy.
“Katie has been a great ambassador for the sport and she still is, paving the way in the pro ranks, opening up loads of doors for anybody that’s going to turn over. She’s fantastic.”