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Dublin: 12 °C Tuesday 4 August, 2020
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Why are the Irish so good at boxing?

European champions Ray Moylette and Joe Ward are the latest pair to bring success to Irish boxing. Why are we so good at the noble art?

European Champion Ray Moylette
European Champion Ray Moylette
Image: INPHO/Cathal Noonan

FOLLOWING THE SUCCESS Ireland’s Ray Moylette and Joe Ward in the European Championships in Turkey, we look at some of the reasons why we manage to consistently produce such accomplished amateur boxers.

I) The High Performance Unit.

Noting the success of data gathering infrastructures at both Tennis Ireland and Irish Hockey, the Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA) decided to establish a high performance unit in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics. It’s taken a while to get going but has been fully operational since February 2011, and centres around 12 cameras placed around the corners of three boxing rings at the National Stadium to best monitor sparring action and technique.

II) Strength In Adversity.

Slightly less scientific, maybe, but there’s a lot to be said for the Irish underdog mentality. It has become a bit of a cliché to point to the moment that Ray Houghton scored the winner against England in Euro ’88, but the lift that gave the country can never be underestimated. Ditto for the world of boxing where Michael Carruth and Wayne McCullough brought home gold and silver respectively from the Barcelona Olympics of 1992. Many of today’s top stars may have only been babies at the time, but the seed was planted back in those days.

III) Success breeds success

Over 100 career wins has seen Katie Taylor become one of the greats of not just Irish boxing, but Irish sport itself. Three successive gold medals at the World Amateur Championships is just the tip of the iceberg and she’s not too bad at the football either, representing the Girls in Green at senior level. She’s famously clean living and has proved to be a great example to both genders, hoping to emulate her achievements and earn titles, and she’s not afraid to mix it with the lads either.

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IV) Doing it for Darren

One of Ireland’s three medalists in Beijing, along with Paddy Barnes and Kenny Egan, Darren Sutherland left a great career behind him when he took his own life in September 2009. Tributes flooded in from the world of boxing and the current crop of champions will point to the Dubliner as an example of how to make the best of their potential.

V) Fiery temperament

We’re a passionate bunch and prefer to sort out our differences with a bit of a scrap rather than a grudge. OK, we at The Score would be more of the ‘duck out the fire exit when things start getting messy’ stock, but you know where we’re coming from. From Supermac’s on a Saturday night to the sidelines at a mini-leagues match, we’re an irascible bunch so it’s no wonder that we’re quite handy at the fisticuffs.

Golden boys: Moylette and Ward win top Euro honours for Ireland>

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