Kellie Harrington claimed Olympic boxing gold for Ireland in the women’s lightweight category after a unanimous decision victory over Brazil’s Beatriz Ferreira in a hard-fought final at the Kokugikan Arena.
Harrington weathered a punishing opening round in which she was caught off-balance by one of the many flurries by her opponent, who was up on three of the five judges’ scorecards after the first three minutes.
But Harrington made outstanding technical adjustments, switching to southpaw and boxing behind her jab expertly to control the distance, with Ferreira often swinging at fresh air as she lost the second round on every card.
Ferreira showed improvements in the final round but absorbed a big left hand from Harrington, while the pair traded big shots in the final few seconds before embracing each other at the final bell.
Harrington was once again favoured by all five judges in the final round and was understandably overcome with emotion after being announced as the winner on every scorecard.
The success of the 31-year-old marks the first time Ireland have won two gold medals in two different sports at the same Olympics, with rowers Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan also triumphing in the men’s lightweight double sculls.