30 April 2012 Edition
Our boxers punching above Ireland’s weight
Boxing clubs have not always received the credit that they are due nor the funding from government they deserve
AIN’T REALLY into boxing myself. Never have been. Probably due to it being too sore on the face and especially if you box like I do.
I did step into the ring one time for a charity ‘fight’ when I took on the mighty Kevin Mulgrew in Dundalk. At the end of three rounds we both ended up on the canvas, out of breath and panting for air. ‘Gruelling’ one-minute rounds they were so my regard for boxers soared from that bruising experience.
Earlier boxing flirtations went no further than watching one of the early Rocky films as a youngster at a cinema in Blackrock along with my younger brother and we came out of the film with big plans to become world champions. I was confident I would make it as I knocked a few lumps out of my smaller sibling on the way home.
I have heard many people saying it is the toughest sport of them all and I wouldn’t disagree with them. In the ring, you are on your own and there is no hiding place. So I have a lot of admiration for anyone that plies their trade in the square ring at whatever level.
Amateur boxing has done tremendous work throughout the years providing thousands of young people, boys and girls, with a healthy and character-building pastime.
Boxing clubs have not always received the credit that they are due nor the funding from government they deserve but I know that Belfast City Council has set in motion plans to rectify that situation while Sinn Féin Minister Carál Ní Chuilin’s Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure in the North has earmarked boxing as one of its priorities.
For the size of Ireland, the country has well and truly punched above its weight when it comes to world champions. The Olympics will soon be upon us and Irish hopes of medals will mostly rest on the shoulders of the boxers, as has so often been the case in previous years.
Now that they’ve made it through the qualifiers to London 2012, I know Belfast’s Paddy Barnes and Wexford’s Adam Nolan will do Ireland proud. Let’s get behind these Boys in Green.