The speculation was inevitable and no doubt the temptation was there but Kellie Harrington has revealed her desire to box on as an amateur and defend her Olympic title at the Paris Games in 2024.
Speaking to Ryan Tubridy in a segment on Friday’s Late Late Show she said that “I have made the decision. I am going to stay amateur. It’s not always about money.”
“Less stress, more success,” was her takeaway line from the interview, conducted in the back of a car with Tubridy driving.
Katie Taylor made the same decision after London but her Rio experience was horrendous and she turned professional after that. The irony was not lost on boxing fans that she was fighting in Leeds on Saturday night, continuing her unbeaten run in the pro ranks.
It has been a hard five years though, relocating to Connecticut for large parts of the year and focused on one training session after another in the grind between the lights being switched on for the cameras.
Harrington’s and Taylor’s personalities are markedly different with Harrington finding greater energy from the support of her friends and community and Taylor gathering her strength from within.
That they should be different just means that they are human but continuing down separate paths and having both as heroes to the Irish sporting public is surely better than pitching them in a match to determine if one is better than the other.
Harrington will have the support of the top level of Sport Ireland funding, currently, €40,000 and will retain a number of endorsement deals as well as working with Dublin City Council as an ambassador for sport within the North East Inner-city that she has brought to the attention of the world.
She is managed by Dave McHugh of Line Up Sports who succeeded in treading the fine line between maintaining sporting performance and benefitting from heightened public awareness with previous Olympic medallists Paul O’Donovan and Annalise Murphy. Both of those doubled up on Olympic success so she is in good hands.
Keeping her in Ireland will be a massive boost for the sport here as well with a surge in demand from all ages following on from another successful Games.
“All of us in Irish boxing are thrilled that Kellie is staying in our High-Performance unit for the Paris 2024 Summer Olympic Games cycle,” said IABA CEO Fergal Carruth.
“Kellie has been an inspiration for people across the country this summer, and we are delighted to have worked hand-in-hand with Sport Ireland to ensure that we could design a programme that worked effectively for Kellie to continue to achieve her goals.”
“Her announcement demonstrates clearly Kellie’s commitment to the sport of boxing and her confidence in the IABA High-Performance Unit. We are extremely proud of our programme, and we are excited to see what Kellie can do over the coming years with the support of the IABA and Sport Ireland.”
“A powerful and influential network of information and collaboration”
Sport for Business Partners