Michaela Walsh clinched her place in Paris a year ago and seeks to add to Irish and family boxing legacy (Photo By David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Name: Michaela Walsh
Country: Ireland
Sport: Boxing, featherweight (57kg)
Previous Olympic experience: Tokyo 2021
Social Media: Instagram / X

Who Is Michaela Walsh?

In Irish amateur boxing, the gritty battler from Belfast, Northern Ireland is considered among the best in a proud history. A history that began with a young Michaela Walsh pestering her parents to let her try because her young brother Aidan was already in the ring.

“I tortured them,” she recalled to The Irish News in 2018. “I was tomboyish so I was always out playing football with you, we sort of had the same friends, but back then women didn’t really box. My daddy said he’d have a word with the head coach at the time, Sean Canavan, and Sean was like ‘of course, bring her down’.”

The rest became history in the annals in the amateur ring. Walsh, at age 31, is an 11-time Irish national champion, tying her for the most national titles ever.

At the Tokyo Olympics she and her brother became the first sister/brother duo to compete in boxing at the same Olympic Games. She met with disappointment in a second-round loss, but her disappointment was soothed a little by watching her younger brother live an Olympic dream with a bronze in the welterweight division.

In international competition beyond the Olympics, she has won a lot of hardware. Yet she’s also been on the wrong end of a number of close calls. Walsh’s Commonwealth Games history is an example of this. In 2014 and 2018, she fought to the final, both times losing on split decisions.

Walsh (in red) put up a decisive win to earn Commonwealth Games gold in 2022 (Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images)

In 2022 that story reached a satisfying arc. Walsh faced Nigeria’s Elizabeth Oshoba in the final and dominated the bout to earn her first Commonwealth Games gold medal.

“I’ve failed more times than I’ve succeeded, at times I thought was this for me but I had a dream and I just stuck with it, I’m dedicated to the sport,” she said the Belfast Telegraph after finally winning gold. “If you saw when my hand was raised, it was if something lifted out of me. It was unfinished business.”

Michaela Walsh at the Paris Summer Olympics

Walsh has left nothing to chance in earning her way to the 2024 Summer Olympics. She earned her spot for Paris with a bronze medal in the European Games last summer in Krakow, Poland. Walsh will be a part of an Irish team that has accomplished women in every weight class and has high expectations.

Amina Zidani (in blue) is among the medal threat Walsh (in red) may have to face in Paris on the road to a medal (Photo By David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

What lies ahead is a featherweight draw that shapes out to be one of the most competitive weight classes in the entire Olympic boxing tournament. Fellow out competitor Nesty Petecio of the Philippines, silver medalist in Tokyo, is in the draw in inspired by a chance at gold in what will be her final Olympics. Italy’s Irma Testa, also out and formidable, defeated Walsh en route to a bronze in Tokyo. Testa also holds the IBA world championship in the weight class heading into Paris.

A person all will have their eyes on is someone Walsh has had a number of hotly competitive bouts with. France’s Amina Zidani fought through the 2023 European Games to a gold medal and secured her place for Paris a year early.