Kellie Harrington was speaking to media in her role as ambassador for FBD Insurance, sponsor of Team Ireland. Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Harrington weighing up big decision on future amid offers to turn professional

The Olympic champion says her next move must suit her partner, Mandy Loughlin, as well as her family.

KELLIE HARRINGTON SAYS she will arrive at a decision on her boxing future “sooner rather than later”, confirming that she has received a number of offers to try her Olympic gold medal-winning hand in boxing’s professional ranks.

Harrington, 31, could still conceivably seek to defend her Olympic title at the Paris Games by which time she’ll be 34, or indeed make a similar call to that of Katie Taylor who turned over post-Rio 2016, aged 30, and has gone on to carve a second legacy of sorts while becoming one of the highest-earning female athletes on the planet.

The Dubliner, who arrived home to a hero’s welcome this day last week, says she has not yet mapped out her immediate future but that she will need to consult with her family and her partner, Mandy Loughlin, to ensure that what she does next also suits them.

“At the moment, I’m not even off the plane a week yet so I genuinely don’t know what I’m doing — whether I’m going pro, whether I’m not going pro,” said Harrington, who was speaking to journalists in her role as ambassador for FBD Insurance, sponsors of the Irish Olympic team.

I’ve had some offers. I don’t know what to do yet. It’s a big decision to make so I have to be sure that I make the right decision — not just for me but for my family and Mandy (partner) and stuff. So, I’ll have to see what I do but I’ll definitely be coming to that decision sooner rather than later because I want to get back training, so it has to be made.

Suggestions of a future professional-boxing career have already naturally led to hints of a potential fight against Taylor, Harrington’s predecessor in 60kg division who won Olympic gold at London 2012.

Taylor is currently the biggest name in female professional boxing and holds all the marbles as undisputed lightweight champion in the punch-for-pay ranks, ruling over the division into which Harrington would conceivably enter as a pro.

They never met as amateurs, with Harrington campaigning up at the non-Olympic weight of 64kg while medal machine Taylor was favoured by the IABA’s High Performance Unit in the 60kg division.

And while Harrington wouldn’t definitively close the door on their eventually meeting in the pros, she was quick to reiterate that Taylor is nowhere near the top of her list of priorities as she weighs up the next chapter of her own legendary career.

“Katie Taylor is a phenomenal athlete,” Harrington said.

She does her thing and I do my thing. At the moment, this is my thing, this is my time. I’m not thinking of Katie Taylor, I’m not thinking of fighting Katie Taylor; she’s not even on my radar. She hasn’t been on my radar.

“She will continue to do great things and I’m sure whatever I will do will be great for me.”

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