Olympics: Japan’s Irie wins women’s featherweight boxing gold in Tokyo

SENA Irie won her country’s first women’s boxing medal and then said she plans to call it quits, her win over world champion Nesthy Petecio of the Philippines at the Tokyo Games on Tuesday allowing the Japanese the opportunity to finish on the highest of highs.

“I want to end my career with success, so I will retire after graduation from college.” said Irie, a student at Nippon Sport Science University. Irie’s unanimous victory at Kokugikan Arena was also the inaugural gold in the newly added women’s 54 to 57-kilogramme division, another first for the 20-year-old from Tokyo.

“By winning this medal, I hope the media gives more coverage to women’s boxing and the sport expands,” said Irie, adding she also hopes it changes the perception of women in the sport.

“People may think women who box are violent and have a rough temper, but I think I proved today that is not the case. I think I was able to show Japanese women that if we keep putting the work in, we can achieve something.”

On Tuesday, she put in her work early and it paid off in the end.

The Japanese got off to a fast start, her left jab landing often and effectively. The judges read it that way, too, handing her the first round unanimously 10-9. —Kyodo