Aidan Walsh never gave himself less chance of beating his longtime amateur boxer archenemy than the way he left the ring after his last fight.
The Irish welterweight representative has to be content with a bronze medal without actually getting into the ring. An ankle injury sustained by Walsh in connection with a quarter-final win over Merven Clair (Mauritius) made him unable to face British Pat McCormack in Sunday’s welterweight semi-finals at Tokyo’s Kokugikan Arena.
McCormack officially wins the planned fight via walkover. The welterweight number one is now entering the gold medal round, where he waits for the winner of the other planned semi-final match between another set of amateur rivals in Roniel Iglesias (Cuba) and Andrei Zamkovoi (ROC).
The battle between Great Britain and Ireland was one of the most anticipated days given the longstanding rivalry, even if the fight itself was not considered competitive. McCormack beat Walsh three times before going to the Tokyo Olympics and was dominant on his way to welterweight supremacy.
Still, Walsh wanted nothing more than to represent Ireland in the semi-finals. Unfortunately, his enthusiastic cheers after his victory over Clair largely contributed to the fact that he injured his ankle, so that he had to be driven into his locker room.
Walsh was unable to recover in time for the pre-fight weigh-in and officially declared it a medical scratch.
McCormack increases the British record in Tokyo to 18: 5 overall, including 10: 3 for the men’s team. The nation as a whole is guaranteed four medals, including at least one silver medal with McCormack’s promotion to the Olympics.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox