Off The Ball: Before Katie Taylor, there was Deirdre Gogarty

Ireland's first female professional boxer Deirdre Gogarty talks to Ger about the hard road into the professional game and her most famous fight

Off The Ball: Before Katie Taylor, there was Deirdre Gogarty

Deirdre Gogarty ©INPHO / Allsport

Listen to the full interview above via the podcast 

When Katie Taylor was just 10 years old, Ireland's first ever professional women's boxer was fighting on the undercard of a Mike Tyson and Frank Bruno fight.

That was Drogehda native Deirdre Gogarty who was an inspiration to Taylor and who would go on to become a world champion.

She was Ireland's first ever professional boxer but could not fight in this country due to legal issues surrounding women's boxing at the time.

A new documentary about Gogarty called Girl On The Undercard is set to air on Setanta this St Patrick's Day and to talk about her career, we were joined by the former boxer herself.

Gogarty's love of boxing began at a very young age with Jack Dempsey and Barry McGuigan proving to be early inspirations.

Unfortunately there was no outlet for professional women's boxing in Ireland at the time.

"Even just to train in a boxing ring was a huge step because women weren't boxing then and they weren't really welcome in the gym or even to sit and watch because they were considered a distraction," said Gogarty of those less-enlightened times.

But from making into the training ring, she took it one step at a time until she was able to spar. And even after that Gogarty had to wait four years before being granted her debut match.

"It was just a very long road of constantly badgering people to let me get in the ring," she admitted.

With the problems in Ireland, Gogarty took the plunge and ended up taking her boxing career abroad.

 From an underground beginning - literally - in London, she chose the Deep South of the United States as the "best move for her professional career".

That would lead her to the undercard of the second Mike Tyson and Frank Bruno fight in 1996 where she would take on the imposing Christy Martin who was three weight divisions heavier.

That fight would go down in history and has been compared to the Thrilla in Manila. Yet Gogarty was not aware that she was changing attitudes towards women boxing at the time.

"To me and Martin, we were boxing years so I'd already been in an even more exciting fight with Laura Serrano the year before. So to us it was another good fight. I had no idea what impact it was having on the people who were watching it," said Gogarty.