The Katie Taylor effect
Boxing clubs in Cork are hoping to feel the effect of Katie Taylor’s gold medal win in the London Olympics over the next few months.
Already the secretary of the club with largest female membership in Munster thinks that Taylor directly inspired many of their 46 female members to start boxing. John Bowes is secretary and coach at Fermoy/ K2C Boxing Club and he thinks their large membership is principally due to the brilliant Bray boxer.
“Seven years ago, former national title holder Ciara Noonan was our only female boxer. Katie Taylor started coming down to fight here in 2004. She has fought down here four or five times since then.
“She fought the Germans here in an international in 2007 and the Swedes in 2008."
John believes the explosion in numbers of female boxers in his club is mostly due to Katie Taylor.
“The girls think that if she can mix it up with the boys in the ring, so can they. Lots of them have joined and it’s a home away from home for them now,” he says.
Ciara Noonan from Fermoy was a teammate of Katie Taylor on the Irish team and John says that Katie always gave her lots of advice. “She is amazing, one of the most humble, placid people you could ever meet,” he says.
Pat Flynn, secretary and head coach at St John’s Boxing Club Fermoy was involved as coach when Katie Taylor won her first international medal at multi-nations event in Oslo in 2004. There are 15-20 female boxers in St John’s, he says and he expects that more female boxers will be interested in joining in the aftermath of the Olympics.
“I’m after getting a few calls from women recently looking to get involved. Katie Taylor is a big influence in increasing numbers in boxing in Ireland but also all over the world.
“She is only now getting the recognition that she deserves. She is a four times World Champion and three times European Champion. She should have gotten RTÉ Sports Person of the Year last year,” he says. Rory McIllroy picked up the prize instead. “She is some ambassador for Ireland,” he adds.
Pat thinks she is only now getting the recognition that she deserves as boxing has not gotten enough coverage.
“RTÉ should have come on board (to show her fights before). Boxing gets very little coverage on the station,” he says.
There was a “packed house” in Silver Springs Hotel when Katie Taylor fought in Cork in March before she went to the World Championships in May where she secured qualification for the Games in London.
Pat was impressed with all six members of the boxing squad that went to London. “The medals speak for themselves and the other boxers were all beaten by medallists.”
Cork City Councillor Lorraine Kingston is involved in Spartan Boxing Club in Blackrock.
“We have two women boxers since 2009 and have four more that come and go in the older group. We have three young female Munster champions and one of them shows great promise for future Olympics. As a result of Katie Taylor's triumph, this will give them huge confidence to keep going,” she said.
There are between 30 and 40 members in the club.
“I know that when we return in September we will have many more young girls joining as we have had enquiries already. The Irish boxing team were a delight to watch and a great inspiration to all of us and our boxers and has put boxing on the map,” she added.
For a full list of boxing clubs in Cork, see http://www.iaba.ie/munster-boxing-clubs/cork-boxing-clubs/.