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'People laughed at me, but I was right' - Mick Dowling on funding boxing in Ireland

Former Olympic boxer Mick Dowling says Kellie Harrington's Olympic win in Tokyo shows how importa...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

12.11 8 Aug 2021


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'People laughed at me, but I w...

'People laughed at me, but I was right' - Mick Dowling on funding boxing in Ireland

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

12.11 8 Aug 2021


Share this article


Former Olympic boxer Mick Dowling says Kellie Harrington's Olympic win in Tokyo shows how important funding is.

The Dubliner took gold in the women's lightweight boxing final against Brazil's Beatriz Ferreira.

Dowling, who runs a boxing gym in Dublin, told On The Record he is already seeing more interest in the sport.

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"It will cause a big influx of youngsters into clubs, and already I had been getting calls during the week.

"I had one dad was ringing [and] his seven-year-old daughter wanted to join boxing."

He says things have changed since he was in the ring.

"We've seven fighters out there, we've done exceptionally well.

"It's many, many years ago I suggested if we want - we were moaning about not winning medals in the Olympics - and I said 'Look if we want to win medals, we've got to put money into it, we've got to look after our athletes'.

"People laughed at me, they thought 'You can't pay boxers, you can't pay our athletes'.

"They laughed at me then, but I was right and we now do look after our athletes, we do prepare our teams properly - and as a result we are getting good results.

"I do not begrudge the present day boxers, they deserve what they're getting because all of the other nations are looking after their sports people in a big, big way".

'Amazing boxer, amazing person'

On Harrington's win, he says she has brought "honour and glory" to the whole country.

"She's an absolutely amazing boxer, an amazing person and she's brought an awful lot of honour and glory not only to the whole country but especially her area there of inner-city Dublin in Portland Row.

"At times it gets publicity that it particularly doesn't want, but here she has brought an awful lot of pride and joy to the particular area".

And Mick says he "sincerely hopes" Harrington stays amateur.

"I feel very bad about coaches [who] put to so much time into boxers and bringing them on, and then the greedy professional people step in, they take her over and they make the money out of her.

"Of course she would make money too, but I think if we look after her well enough I would say she would stay as an amateur".

'People laughed at me, but I was right' - Mick Dowling on funding boxing in Ireland

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Dublin's Portland Row, where Harrington is from, has been celebrating after the win.

Residents gathered to watch the fight on a big screen early on Sunday.

Speaking afterwards, Harrington said: "Relieved, totally relieved. I'm just glad that it's over.

"To have the support of a nation backing you is just, it's actually hard to believe, I actually feel the nation has been behind me.

"Regardless of whatever happened out there today - whether I got a silver or a gold - I knew, and I know, that I have made them proud."

Main image: Kellie Harrington reacts after victory as her coaches Zaur Antia and John Conlan look on following her lightweight final bout with Beatriz Ferreira of Brazil at the Kokugikan Arena during the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. Picture by: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

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