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big win Kurt Walker through to quarter-final with impressive victory over Spaniard

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Kurt Walker of Ireland takes a cut against Jose Quiles Brotons of Spain during the Men's Feather (52-57kg) on day one of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

Kurt Walker of Ireland takes a cut against Jose Quiles Brotons of Spain during the Men's Feather (52-57kg) on day one of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

Kurt Walker of Ireland takes a cut against Jose Quiles Brotons of Spain during the Men's Feather (52-57kg) on day one of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

KURT Walker has made a winning Olympic debut, securing a unanimous 5-0 win over European bronze medallist Joe Quiles Brotons from Spain in the Kokugikan Arena to advance to the last 16 in the featherweight division.

Despite suffering a nick over his right eyelash in the third round, the Lisburn fighter had a relatively comfortable passage though the Spaniard, who is nicknamed ‘Crazy Horse’ is his native country, pulled out all the stops in the second round which he won on four of the judges’ scorecard.

Walker was the more stylish fighter, and he kept his distant in the first round. He was the crisper puncher though Quiles managed to deflect a percentage of his shots with his gloves. But the Irish featherweight’s superior work-rate was sufficient for all five judges to give him the round.

The pattern of the contest was reversed in the second with the Spaniard now becoming the aggressor, forcing Walker to retreat and Quiles nicked the round on four of the judges’ cards.

So, it all came down to the final round as the scores were tied on four of the judges’ card.

Walker reasserted his dominance as the contest lapsed into a brawl. But Walker’s superior skill was enough to comfortably see out the contest and book a place in the last 16 of the 57kg division on Wednesday where he faces the number one seed Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov from Uzbekistan.

“I thought I dominated the first and third. In the second he gave it his all. But he had nothing left in the third. But he is very good, and I had to dig deep. It was a great first fight for me.

“After the second round my corner was telling me that he had given it his all in the second. They told me to go out and to go back to my boxing. I got a bit nervous. It was a wee bit different (fighting in the Olympics)."

Asked about facing the gold medal favourite in the next round Walker said: “He has two arms and two legs like myself. It doesn’t bother me. I have won a fight in the Olympics. It is more than I thought I would do this year. So, I’m happy and I will keep going.”

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