(AUG 13) The 2017 EUBC
European Union championships have ended in Cascia, Italy with
the host nation taking most medals.
The event saw some 87 athletes from 19 countries take part :
Bulgaria, Czech Republic, England, Denmark, Finland, France,
Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Moldova,
Poland, Sweden, Turkey, Wales, Holland and Croatia.
Though the standard was high, it
fell short of what we would have seen had so many boxers not
left the ‘amateur’ ranks in the past 18 months thanks to the
failure of the AIBA to adequately promote the women’s sport.
Italy won most medals with nine :
one Gold (Mesiano 57 Kg), six bronze (Mostarda 51 Kg, Ghilardi
+81 Kg, Testa 60 Kg, Floridia 69 Kg, Canfora 75 Kg and LaBarbera
(81 Kg) plus two silvers (Bonatti 48 Kg, Donniacuo 64 Kg),
whilst the ‘Best Boxer Award’ went to Mesiano.
One of the outstanding finals of the competition saw Gold go to
Ireland’s Michaela Walsh at the non-Olympic weight of 54kg.
Ironically Walsh was not even selected on the original team but
was one of three added by the IABA Central Council after their
Another bone of contention was that the team was split up for
pre-tournament sparring with three of the team (Michaela Walsh,
Kristina O’Hara and Ciara Ginty) forced to train in Dublin
whilst the remainder went to a training camp in France. Seems
odd that three are forced to train at home as one would have
thought that “Team Bonding” and team spirit would have been
better served by them all being together at the training camp.
That alas is part of an ongoing battle within the Irish
association as the Olympic weights are funded by Sport Ireland
on behalf of the High Performance Unit whilst the IABA Central
Council chose to add the other three but would not pay for their
“sparring camp” travel and expenses in France.
Clearly some of the Irish team are seen as more equal than
others so Sport Ireland, the HPU team and the Central Council
MUST work together and find funding for the whole team in future
and that includes sparring and not just for the major
championships. Would the Irish men’s team have been treated like
Had there not been the late Central Council intervention in
selecting the non-funded trio then of course Michaela Walsh
would not have struck Gold and Team Ireland would have been
restricted to a Silver from Kelly Harrington at 60kg and a
bronze for Grainne Walsh at 69kg. Kelly had already eliminated
“host nation favourite” Irma Testa from the championships, at
the semi-final stage.
Having lost a close final to Finland’s Mira Potkonen (a bronze
medallist in Rio), she had this to say on social media:
“So after all my hard work over the last few months preparing
for the European Union Championships I had to settle for Silver.
I had 4 great fights in a week with Poland, Denmark, Italy and
Finland. Now 1 door has shut another begins to open :) 2016
World Silver Medal 64kg 2017 European Union Silver 60kg
If you all knew how I started in early life you would be very
pleased to see how 1 turned life around, things happen people
change, If I can do it then anyone can do it.
Spartacus Tullamore boxer Grainne Walsh also used social media
to express her thanks to those who helped her to bronze:
“EU Championships Bronze Medallist 2017 - excellent tournament
and a great team. Proud to be part of it all. Looking forward to
the big majors next year, top of the podium is where I'm going!
Thank you to everyone for the kind messages and comments. My
coach Dima and my family. Appreciate it all. Great to have my
Dad there to support me too. And a big thank you to Aura Leisure
Centre Tullamore for giving me the use of their excellent
facilities to help me prepare. Big things to come in the future.
Michaela Walsh penned: “When all your dreams come true.
EUROPEAN CHAMPION 2017. Thank you to everyone who has supported
me, donated me money, prayed for me and believed in me. I put my
life into this and there will be more moments like this for me
in the future because I am reaping the rewards from my hard
work. For now I will enjoy this moment, yesterday was the best
day of my life. God is great!!
Speaking after the event, EUBC President Franco Falcinelli had
this to say:
“The Elite Women’s European Union Championships have just ended.
They were very well organized and a success, as well as an
important technical review of the best boxers of the 20
countries that took part in this eighth edition.
The city of Cascia, which hosted the event, responded with great
affection to the presence of many young Europeans girls, and
Mayor Mario de Carolis thanked all delegations for their
demonstration of concrete solidarity with the populations that a
year ago were severely affected by a strong earthquake. Olympic
sports and boxing in these circumstances have proven to be close
to the needs and hopes of those in difficulty and in need of
moral and material support to start living and trust in their
Special thanks to the President of the Italian Boxing Federation
Mr. Vittorio Lai and his staff for the excellent technical and
management organization. Thank you to the Supervisor Helmut
Ranze and all ITOs, to the Competitor Manager Mr. Nazzareno Mela
and to the Referees and Judges who provided very good and
correct performances “.
All the results here thanks to our friends at STREFA POLAND