Meet Sena Irie – The First Boxing Gold Medalist Of 2020 Olympics
The host country of Japan won its first gold medal in boxing in 2020 with Sena Irie winning on all five of the judges’ scorecards against Nesthy Petecio of the Philipines in the finals of the women’s featherweight tournament.
Irie, who is 20-years-old will now be a Japanese folk hero as she ran through a tough gauntlet to face the tournament favorite and beat Petecio in their fourth meeting in international competition. Irie started the Olympics with a win over Yamileth Solorzano of Estonia, in a bout that she outclassed her in, outboxing her from the outside.
Irie’s style is that of an elusive backfoot boxer, who is not trying to fight in the inside, but instead, move, and gain points through speed and volume.
If you want to see a vintage Irie Olympic performance I would look at her bout in the round of sixteen in which she fought Khouloud Hlimi of Tunisia, and was rarely hit. Irie at her best is a fighter who lives by the motto of hit and not get hit.
Irie narrowly beat Maria Nechita of Romania in the quarterfinals, in a fight that saw Nechita have a lot of success with brute force. In the round prior, Nechita overwhelmed Ramla Ali, a tournament favorite, but couldn’t have the same luck with Irie who gutted out a close win.
Irie’s bout against Karriss Artingstall of Great Brittan came down to what type of work you favor more in a fight, as well as let’s be honest, where the location of the Olympics. Artingstall would’ve won the fight if it was a pro fight, and I favored her, but Irie did enough to win and advance to the finals.
Her gold medal match, tonight, saw her beat Nesthy Petecio, one of the shining stars of the tournament, and a master of fighting on the inside but never could get on the inside on Irie who fought the fight of her life in the finals in truly a gold medal deserving performance.
Irie, a native of Tokyo, Japan, now will be the first-ever Olympic gold medalist in women’s featherweight as the division was introduced for this Olympic year. Things of note about her, her nickname is the Irie Crocodile and is currently a student at Nippon Sport Science University in Tokyo.
Irie began to box at the age of seven in 2008 at Sugar Knuckle Boxing Gym in Yonago, Japan, the same town she was born in. Irie found inspiration to start training boxing based on a cartoon show that featured boxing. Irie stated that she looked up to the characters with championship belts. Thirteen years later, now Irie has one of the most sought-after prizes in all of boxing, an Olympic Gold medal.