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ring return Golden girl Kellie Harrington ready for return to ring in Bulgaria on Tuesday

Dubliner to face Sweden’s Agnes Alexiusson at Strandja tournament in Sofia

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Olympic gold medallist Kellie Harrington returns to the ring in Bulgaria on Tuesday

Olympic gold medallist Kellie Harrington returns to the ring in Bulgaria on Tuesday

Olympic gold medallist Kellie Harrington returns to the ring in Bulgaria on Tuesday

Olympic champion Kellie Harrington returns to the boxing ring on Tuesday for the first time since beating Brazilian Beatrix Ferreira in the gold medal lightweight bout in Tokyo in August.

Harrington faces Sweden’s Agnes Alexiusson in the 73rd international Strandja tournament in the Bulgarian capital Sofia.

Fourteen Irish boxers are competing in the tournament - Amy Broadhurt (63kg) had to withdraw due to illness.

Unfortunately, there was no joy for the first two boxers in action today. European U-22 champion Dean Clancy lost on a 5-0 decision to Abdal Serik from Kazakhstan while welterweight Eugene McKeever also lost on an unanimous decision to France’s Hugo Grau.

This is a significant tournament for the women’s team as the World Championships are scheduled for Istanbul in May.

Shannon Sweeney (48kg), Caitlyn Fryers (50kg), Carly McMcNaul (52kg) and Tokyo Olympian Michaela Walsh are all in action tomorrow.

The other Irish boxers competing are Christina Desmond (70kg), Olympian Aoife O’Rourke (75kg), Adam Hession (57kg), JP Hale (60kg), Luke Maguire (71kg), Kelyn Cassidy (80kg) and Thomas Maughan (92kg +)

The tournament has been selected to be part of the new Golden Gloves Series of World Boxing Tour by the AIBA which has changed its names to the IBA (International Boxing Association)

The organisation is under intense scrutiny in the wake of the decision by the International Olympic Committee not to include boxing in the programme for the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.

The IBA must satisfy the IOC that it has fulfilled a list of conditions about governance, finance and judging before boxing is restored to the 2028 programme.

London Olympic champion and current undefeated lightweight world professional champion Katie Taylor has expressed fears for the future of the sport if it is dropped from the Olympic programme.

*The Irish boxing community is mourning the loss of David O’Brien who died last week. He was the secretary of the Munster Council of the Irish Athletic Boxing association and a former director of the IABA.

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