The first ever women’s boxing International involving a full Irish team takes place at the National Stadium on Friday when the home side takes on Holland in the first of a two match series, commencing 7.30 pm.
The teams then ‘renew rivalry’ at the Cavan Crystal Hotel (on the outskirts of Cavan Town) on Sunday evening (25th) again from 7.30pm
The Irish selection includes experienced stars like 3 times World, 5 times European champion Katie Taylor and Drimnagh’s Sinead Kavanagh, who like Taylor has been a regular in the Irish team for several years now .
Taylor comes up against Amsterdam southpaw – and Price Waterhouse Manager – 30 years old Jessica Belder who is likely to be at the World’s in China, like her Bray opponent.
Taylor’s Bray BC team mate Laoise Traynor sees action against Lisa de Vilder in Cavan. Should be a close one this.
Lynne McEnery from the St Paul’s club in Waterford, and a former European kick boxing champion, is another of those experienced campaigners and very deserving of her chance to represent her country at 31, but there are also several who are new to the Senior International scene.
Among them Holy Family’s Michaela Walsh, Belfast’s Sarah Close and Callan’s Claire Grace all of whom have represented Ireland with more than a little success at Junior and Youth level.
In Cavan on Sunday a first senior International appearance for Gleann’s Carla Wright who is expected to take on Willeke Verdellen of Holland at 64kg . Much has been heard about the 22 years old Belfast boxer in recent months
and it will be a good test for her against Verdellen in Cavan.
If the hard hitting Wright is as good in the ring as her coaches and manager believe she is, then she could be ‘one for the future’.
We must remember that she is at the start of her career with but seven or so bouts to date, mostly at novice or intermediate level so it would be doing her a grave disservice for fans to expect too much too soon.
Hopefully her club – and the IABA – will be able to arrange other suitable bouts for her whether in Ireland, in United Kingdom or in say Scandinavia, before long.
Apart from the appearance of Taylor, who is preparing for the forthcoming World Championships – and only female Olympic qualifier – in China, Irish fans will also see European Gold medallist, Nouchka Fontijn in action
in Dublin and in Cavan as she gloves off against Sinead Kavanagh on both occasions. Whilst covering the 2011 European Championships (which Taylor won for a record fifth in a row title), I was extremely impressed with Fontijn .
As in Ireland, the Dutch women boxers are on the up and up, as of course there is also Marichelle de Jong whom alas we will not see in Ireland this week as she is currently at the Usti Nad Labem tournament in the Czech Republic.
A chance also to see Australia’s champion Bianca Elmir, (who recently won their Olympic Trial ) against Michelle Lynch from the Mayo Golden Gloves club in Dublin whilst Kristen Frazer of Scotland also makes an appearance –at both venues, against Michael Walsh in Cavan and tomorrow when she meets Ryston’s Dervla Duffy at 57 kg. Duffy impressed greatly when I saw her win titles at the Haringey Box Cup in London in 2010 and again a year later. She meets Joyce Van Ee in Cavan. Some good supporting bouts so a full programme at both venues.
IABA President Tommy Murphy said that the upcoming internationals will play their part in Ireland’s preparations for the 7th AIBA (2012) World Women’s Championships and only Olympic qualifier for female boxers in Qinhuangdao,China between May 8th and 20th.
“This will be the first time that Katie Taylor has boxed in a women’s international at the National Stadium. We’ve put together a talented young squad and everyone involved with the sport is looking forward to what will be marvellous occasions. Both sides contain some world class boxers and both internationals promise to be very competitive, said IABA President Tommy Murphy.
“The final European Olympic qualifier for men is in Turkey next month and then we have the women’s Olympic qualifiers in China in May. I would encourage sports fans to come along and support our talented young international boxers this weekend as they embark on what is a crucial period for Irish amateur boxing.”
Should be two good nights for fans of Irish women’s boxing – great to see an International allocated to Cavan where coach Brian McKeown has done so well in charge of the local Cavan BC and as always SportsNewsIreland will be bringing you updates from the National Stadium and from the Cavan Crystal Hotel..