Offaly boxer Lauren Kelly ensured Ireland got amongst the medals on Day 1 of the European Youth and Junior Boxing Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria on Monday, July 3.
The Edenderry middleweight, who fights out of the St. Brigid's Club in Edenderry, is now guaranteed a bronze medal at least after seeing off stiff opposition in the shape of Hungary’s Gabriella Petrovics.
Kelly claimed a split decision in the bout and will now meet Russia’s Anastasia Shamonova in the semi-final.
“The first fight is always the hardest one. With that under my belt I would be confident going into the semi-finals," she's quoted as saying on the IABA website.
“That girl beat me two years ago and that was the win I wanted. With that fight I’d be confident,” she added.
Irish team manager Bernie Harold said Kelly had to dig deep to register the win for her country.
Making Lauren's achievement all the more incredible is the fact that she has battled back from a serious injury where the teenager tore two of the main ligaments in her left elbow last August.
Surgery followed and months of rehabilitation, and she was only allowed to shadow box as recently as January of this year.
She battled on and fought at the Irish National Youth competition where she was successful in recapturing some of her sparkling form by claiming her sixth Irish National title.
Her reward was a place on the Irish Youth team for these European Youth Championships in Sofia where she is now guaranteed a medal.
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