|Katie Taylor London2012|
Irish boxers are competing today in the National championships with the finals on the 27th. It’s fun to think some of these women could be flying home from Rio next year with a medal.
We’re still living off the Katie Taylor memories from London2012, but hopefully many more to come. At the time it seemed as if every girl in the country was discovering boxing.
Unfortunately the big numbers are still not at this level, with some fighters receiving a bye into the final due to lack of competition.
IABA posted this online last week before the prelims: ‘Please note that due to the small entry there may be no boxing at the National Elite Women’s Championships at the National Stadium in Dublin this weekend.’
Former pro-fighter Deirdre Gogarty told me she encourages every girl to take up boxing, confident hardly anyone at all will actually fight and risk injury!
But the big names are all there; Ceire Smith, Kelly Harrington, Dervla Duffy and Taylor herelf. Maybe the “Taylor Effect” will come next Olympics?
In the meantime former Irish coach Billy Walsh has taken up his new job in America. I spoke to women’s boxing expert Malissa Smith from Girl Boxing blog during the Olympic Trials, but she was very coy.
When I asked her thoughts on Walsh, she just mailed back: “As for Walsh. I don’t know enough to say! :;)”
She praised Claresa Shields, saying: “Truly there is no one to beat Claressa who was masterful. Even with Tika Hemingway’s pressure in the final, Shields just up’d herself to another gear.”
|Claressa Shields PIC AP Photo/Rick Osentoski|
And it looks like Katie Taylor won’t have things all her own way if she faces Mikaela Mayer. She fought the same opponent three times to qualify; a win, a loss and a hard-fought win. Sounds like champion material to me, especially as her opponent JaJira Gonzales “crumpled” her in the second according to Malissa.
(PS: Malissa has a lovely piece on Holly Holm vs Ronda Rousey I know, I know you’ve read a lot on THAT kick but this one from a true boxing fan is fascinating).
UPDATE: IABA post here with named fighters and details on how National Championships feed into the Road to Rio.