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girl power Kellie Harrington produces tactical master class to advance to quarter finals In Tokyo

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Kellie Harrington of Ireland after defeating Rebecca Nicoli

Kellie Harrington of Ireland after defeating Rebecca Nicoli

Kellie Harrington of Ireland after defeating Rebecca Nicoli

Number one seed Kellie Harrington booked her place in the quarter-final of the lightweight division at the Tokyo Olympics after producing a master class tactical performance against Italian Rececca Nicoli at the Kokugikan Arena.

At times the contest between the two southpaws resembled a chess contest as they stalked each other waiting for the other to come forward.

Ultimately the 2018 world champion executed her game plan better. Her faster hands and superior accuracy enabled her to land the scoring punches in all three rounds though surprisingly the Chinese judge gave the last round to the Italian.

Otherwise, is was a shut-out victory for Harrington who went through to the last eight on scores of 30-27, 30-27, 30-27, and 29-28.

Harrington now moves on to a medal fight on Tuesday against Algerian Imane Khelif with the winner guaranteed a bronze medal at least.

“I feel good,” she Harrington afterwards.

“It felt good to get started. We arrived out here on June 30th and now it is July 30th. So, we are a month out here now.

“It was nice to get going today and get going in a good way. Happy days. It was a long wait. It's sticky and warm walking around the village.

“I didn’t really walk around too much to be honest. You are not really seeing a whole lot apart from the apartment and the food hall. I am living in the food hall and for a boxer to be able to say they are living in the food hall is something else like.

“This is a great journey, but this is not the destination,” she said

The Italian was more formidable than many had anticipated but Harrington pointed out that there are no easy fights in the Olympic Games.

“Everybody who is here is top drawer. We are all elite. We have all had to graft hard to get here. Every fight is a hard fight and every fight is a potential gold medal fight. I’m Just take one step at a time.

“I don’t know who my next opponent is. They are in the ring now, but I won’t look at it. I didn’t look at the draw. I let them (the coaches) worry about it."

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Harrington was delighted the tactical game plan the coaches provided her for the fight had worked to perfection.

“I had never seen her fight but the coaches were telling me that normally she is a counter puncher,” said Harrington who agreed the fight was like a chess match.

“But I enjoyed it, that’s what it’s all about as long as I am getting out there and enjoying it.”

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