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tokyo verdict Beatriz Ferreira lives up to her nickname of ‘The Beast’ but Kellie Harrington can beat her 

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Brazilian Beatriz Ferreira is the gold medal favourite against Kellie Harrington. Photo: Reuters

Brazilian Beatriz Ferreira is the gold medal favourite against Kellie Harrington. Photo: Reuters

Brazilian Beatriz Ferreira is the gold medal favourite against Kellie Harrington. Photo: Reuters

Beatriz Iasmin Soares Ferreira is better known as ‘The Beast’. Kellie’s Harrington’s Olympic final opponent is rated as arguably the best pound-for-pound amateur female fighter in the world right now.

She is not just the reigning world lightweight champion, which she won in 2019 in Russia (an event Harrington missed due to a broken thumb), she is also a three-time Pan-American champion (2017, 2018, 2019), the 2018 South American Games gold medallist and the 2019 World Military champion.

The 28-year-old has only lost seven of her 80 fights since she first hit the international stage in 2017. In contrast, Harrington’s amateur record stands at 73 wins, 18 losses and one draw.

Ferreira only started boxing at the age of 18, having dabbled in wrestling. Born on December 9, 1992, she trains 72 hours per week; her idol is the late Muhammad Ali.

Ferreira first hit the international stage four years ago when she won the gold medal at a tournament in Belgrade. She was back in Europe the following year and defeated South Korean two-time Asian champion Oh Yeon-Ji.

But the latter exacted revenge at the subsequent World Championship in New Delhi when she beat Ferreira on a split 3-2 decision in the first round. Harrington ultimately won the gold medal in the lightweight division at that championship.

The Brazilian also suffered defeat against veteran Finnish lightweight Mira Potkonen at an earlier tournament in Europe. Ferreira finally exacted revenge against the 40-year-old in the Olympic semi-final on Thursday.

The Finn, who beat Katie Taylor to win a bronze medal at the Rio Games, was distraught afterwards, suggesting that she will finally hang up her gloves after Tokyo.

The Brazilian is an aggressive, all-action lightweight who boxes off the front foot. There is no chance that the referee will be ordering the fighters to engage in tomorrow’s final. But though her credentials are impeccable, Ferreira is not unbeatable.

Last year, US head coach Billy Walsh was in the corner when American lightweight Rashida Ellis was given the decision against Ferreira in a tournament in Nicaragua. “Our girl was first to the punch, which created some space and then she turned her when she came at her,” he recalled.

Arguably the lightweight final is one of the high points of the Olympic tournament as it brings together the 2018 and 2019 world champions – there was no World Championship in 2020 due to Covid-19.

Harrington and Ferreira have been aware of each other for four years, but this is the first time they will touch leather in the ring. Though the odds seem stacked against the Irish champion, all the pressure is on the favourite.

So, 29 years to the day that Michael Carruth caused an upset in the welterweight final at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 against Cuban Juan Hernández, Harrington will attempt a similar win against the head.

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