Top Donegal boxing coach, Peter O’Donnell, is predicting a significant influx of female boxers into clubs across the county as world champion Katie Taylor stands on the threshold of Olympic gold.
The Bray lightweight is just four rounds away from the coveted prize in London today after her points victory over Tajikistan rival, Mavzuna Chorieva, in yesterday’s bout at the ExCel Arena.
And her success to date, first in virtually single-handedly persuading the Olympic authorities to include women’s boxing in the ultimate sporting tournament and then in claiming successive World and European titles, has marked her out as one of the country’s greatest ever sporting ambassadors.
Yesterday, one of local boxing’s most renowned representatives described the Wicklow born exponent as “something special”.
“I’ve met her at squad training sessions and she’s very down to earth with no airs about her. I’ve also seen her in action in the O2 against the American Queen Underwood, a fight that Katie won.
“I thought that her contest against the British girl, Natasha Jonas, was the fight that should have been the final in the Olympics,”, said Peter.
So can her success be a springboard to attracting more women into the sport in the county?
“We have four female boxers in the Raphoe club including Caroline Connelly from Strabane who was the Ulster Senior Champion in the 69 kilo division in 2011. I firmly believe there’s going to be an influx of girls into all the clubs in Donegal. We have eighteen affiliated clubs so that would mean a significant number of new women boxers,” Peter indicated.
Two of Donegal G.A.A. heroes, Michael Murphy and Karl Lacey, were among the attendance at the ExCel Arena for Taylor’s opening fight against Jonas.
Meanwhile, as Milford man Brendan Boyce (Letterkenny A,C.) prepares to go in the 50k walk on Saturday, another Milford native is celebrating the success of the fastest man on the planet, Usain Bolt and compared his relationship with the champion athlete as being one close to brotherhood.
The Jamacian’s manager, Ricky Simms, was trackside to watch Bolt clinch the 100 metres in 9.63 seconds on Sunday night. “I always think we’re like brothers. I spent more time with him than I do with my partner. We know each other very well.
“His coach is the strict one and I’m the one that supports him,” he declared.