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Drabik, Potkonen and Fontijn take Feliks Stamm Memorial titles in Warsaw
by Michael O'Neill
September 14, 2015

(SEPT 14)  The host nation’s Sandra Drabik (51kg), Finland’s Mira Potkonen (60kg) and Nouchka Fontijn from the Netherlands (75kg) took the three women’s Olympic weight titles at the XXXII Feliks Stamm Memorial tournament in Warsaw, at the weekend.

Ireland’s ‘AIBA unranked’ Ceire Smith ended the hopes of pre-tournament favourite and World no.1 Marlen Esparza (2-1) in the 51kg preliminaries whilst USA Boxing surprised most onlookers as only one of their heavily supported women’s team - Mikaela Mayer came away with a medal – a bronze in the 60kg lightweight division. Raquel Miller also went out in the 75kg Prelims – to Sweden’s Anna Laurel-Nash whom many will remember from the first AIBA World Championships in Scranton in 2001.

Mayer departed the tournament in the semi-finals losing 2:0 to Finnish warrior, Potkonen, soon set to defend her Gold Girl title in Boras, Sweden.  Mayer has shown a lot of promise again here and certainly has all that it takes to make a name for herself on the World scene. She told her social media followers after the Potkonen defeat:

“Had a split decision today against Finland's girl, Mira Potkonen. It was a very close fight and I thought I had pulled off the win but the decision went to Mira.

Not proud of the outcome but proud of my performance.

An awesome tournament with a ton of talented female fighters. Lots of knowledge gained.

Congrats to my tough Finnish opponent and I hope we get to face each other again soon”.

One of those watching in Warsaw was Irish ABA Head Coach, Billy Walsh who will no doubt have noted the performances of the American team, should he take up the invitation to become Head of the USA boxing women’s team as has been strongly mooted in Ireland albeit not confirmed by USA Boxing.

He will however have been delighted by Ceire Smith’s performance as she was the only Irish woman selected for this tournament and to defeat the champions of the World/USA, China and Sweden will have given him great satisfaction albeit losing the final against the highly experienced Pole, Sandra Drabik.

Smith has been out of boxing for quite some time so wins like these will have done her a power of good in preparation for the bigger tournaments in 2015 (Irish Elites) leading up to the 2016 Olympic qualifiers and possibly Rio 2016. One must say though that she will face a tough task against Michaela Walsh, in Ireland before she can dream of the ‘bigger picture’.

A decision on Billy Walsh’s own future is expected later this week but then it was last week and the week before too – the IABA has done nothing to quell the speculation and has not even communicated as yet on the subject with its own funding body, the Irish Sports Council. How long before Walsh’s patience will run out? Has he seen enough already in Warsaw to help him make his decision without waiting any longer?

One thing is for sure, and that is if Walsh does depart the scene there will be a massive revolt among Irish boxing fans and changes in the running of the organisation are sure to follow.

In the 75kg class, a great win for Holland’s Nouchka Fontijn over England’s Savannah Marshall 3:0. It was a tournament of many surprises as followers of the sport will see from the results hereunder.

ALL the results from every bout are here – courtesy Strefa Poland boxing..Link

You can see the highlights of the tournament – men’s and women’s bouts – via this link but we aware that many viewers have found it slow to load - Link

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