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history beckons Everything you need to know ahead of Kellie Harrington's Olympic gold medal fight

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Kellie Harrington of Ireland celebrates after defeating Sudaporn Seesondee

Kellie Harrington of Ireland celebrates after defeating Sudaporn Seesondee

Kellie Harrington of Ireland celebrates after defeating Sudaporn Seesondee

Dubliner Kellie Harrington will bid to make history by becoming just the third Irish person to win an Olympic boxing gold medal on Sunday morning.

Harrington will face Brazil’s Beatriz Ferreira in a bid to join Michael Carruth and Katie Taylor in securing Olympic gold.

Here we answer all your questions ahead of the fight that will stop the nation in the early hours of tomorrow.

When will Kellie fight and how can I watch or listen to it?

Kellie will take to the ring at 6am Irish time on Sunday morning in the Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo to face Beatriz Ferreira for the lightweight division gold medal.

You can watch the fight on RTÉ 2, as well as Eurosport, and if for some reason you can’t get to the TV tomorrow morning, RTÉ Radio One will have a live commentary on Rising Tide from 6am.

It will also be available to watch via the RTÉ player online.

Independent.ie will also have a report and all the reaction to the fight as soon as it concludes.

Who is Kellie’s opponent?

Kellie will face Brazilian boxer and world number one-ranked Beatriz Ferreira (28) in her bid for gold.

Ferreira has been favourite for the gold medal from the start of the competition and will be Kellie’s toughest opponent to date.

Ferreira won gold at the last World Championships in 2019 in Russia. She entered the Olympics as the third seed due to the fact the Americas qualifying event was cancelled due to Covid-19 and could not rack up ranking points. She will be favourite to take gold.

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So, what are Kellie’s chances of securing a gold medal?

While Beatriz Ferreira will be favourite to win the bout, a win for Kellie would be a mild surprise but not a shock.

While Kellie’s opponent is ranked number one, Kellie is ranked third in the world and took gold in the 2018 World Championships in New Delhi, meaning the last two world champions will face off in the final. Kellie missed the 2019 edition due to a hand injury.

The pair have never faced each other before, which may benefit Harrington in surprising her opponent with her customary change of tactics mid-fight.

Bookmakers make Kellie a 7/4 shot to claim Olympic gold while Ferreira is a 2/5 favourite.

Who did Kellie beat en route to the final?

Kellie defeated Italian Rebecca Nicoli 5-0 in her first bout in the round of 16 before beating Imane Khelif of Algeria 5-0 in her quarter final.

31-year-old Dub Kellie then edged out the fifth ranked fighter in the world, Thai Sudaporn Seesondee, 3-2 in a closely-matched semi-final bout to secure her date with destiny.

Where is Kellie from and what is her background?

Kellie (31) hails from Portland Row, North Strand in the North Inner City of Dublin. When the Olympics were postponed in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Kellie decided to take up a job on the frontline as a cleaner in St Vincent’s psychiatric hospital in Fairview to help others in their time of need.

Kellie works every second weekend in the hospital and has previously said it has not been a problem for her to balance full-time boxing training with working in St Vincent’s.

“When I get home from the Olympic Games, I’ll be doing my restricted movements or whatever I have to do and then I’ll be straight back into work because that’s who I am as a person and that’s the way I roll.

"I feel like when you work in a job you love then you never work. That’s the way I look at it. To me it’s very social going into work,” Kellie said.

Portland Row has been the focus of national attention this week as neighbours and family friends revelled in Kellie’s success. Car horns were going from 6:30am on Thursday morning as excitement exploded once the judges confirmed Kellie would fight for Olympic gold.

As the entire neighbourhood watched Kellie’s semi-final bout with bated breath, her mother Yvonne was in the back garden praying to god and unable to watch.

Kellie’s brother Joel told RTÉ Radio that his mother will once again take up her regular position tomorrow morning while he, his father Christy and brother Christopher (a UEFA pro licensed soccer coach based in Iceland) will watch the fight “on the edge of our seats”.

Kellie took up boxing at 15 in a bid to stay out of trouble but met trouble getting into all-male gyms. Her trademark perseverance paid off and her vow that “I’m going to box in the Olympics one day” came true.

Kellie is known as a selfless and caring woman of faith. She thanks the heavens and thanks “nanny and granda Harrington” before and after her fights, her mother Yvonne confirms.

She did not want her community to watch the fight on a big screen for fears it may jeopardise some of their health and this is typical of the woman that puts the welfare of others before herself.

‘Hakuna Matata’

This was the phrase Kellie rolled out after her semi-final win and after previous bouts. It means ‘no worries’ in Swahili, made famous by The Lion King movie.

“That’s what I say and that’s what the Lion King says,” Kellie laughed after her semi-final win.

It is quite possible Kellie will be the only Irish soul able to utter the carefree phrase on Sunday morning as the nation holds its breath in the hopes of a coronation of its next champion in the ring.

Without doubt, due to her character and demeanour, she has already become one outside of it.

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