WBAN understands - albeit no confirmation or Press Release on
the subject (as the time of writing) from the AIBA that the
organisation has received some 480 entries from 75 countries for
this year's 8th Edition of the AIBA Women's World Elite
Championships in Jeju, South Korea.
Among the Gold medallists when the championships were first
held, in Scranton, USA in 2001 was India's MC Mary Kom, sadly
missing this year due to injury. Among names who have made an
impact in boxing since those first World's are: Jeannine
Garside, Eva Walstroem, Frida Wallberg, Irina Sinetskaya, Anna
Laurell, Myriam Lamare, Tatyana Chalaya and of course MC Mary Kom
and Sarita Devi.
Also in the Indian team that year was one Sarita Devi Laishram -
another who is absent this year - for the first time - due to
her suspension by the AIBA following the scenes in Incheon when
she refused to accept the medal she had 'won' following her
'defeat' by the host nation's Jina Park in Incheon.
You will recall reading here on WBAN that this year for the
first time, Uganda were hoping to field a women's team at the
Championships but later that historic journey seemed in doubt
due to 'funding' issues.
The 'Kampala Observer' has just reported that the trip is 'back
on' and that the team and officials including five boxers are
now able to compete after all.
According to the 'Observer', the Ugandan Boxing Federation now
had a budget of $15,000 (approximately Shs 40 million) to cater
for five boxers and their coach’s travel, allowances and
Two of the boxers, Hellen Baleke and Diana Tulyanabo underwent
an additional one week of training in the high-altitude environs
of Kasese, as this was deemed necessary due to weight issues.
The paper said that 'Baleke, who is entered to compete in the
welterweight (69kg) category, weighed 80kg while Tulyanabo had
to shed off at least five kilograms to make the middleweight
Such weight issues so close to the Championships surely re-emphasise
just why there needs to be ten weight classes for future Olympic
News today of a further boost for women's boxing in Ireland with
record numbers joining clubs throughout the 32 counties,
affiliated to the AIBA.
The 'Irish Examiner' says that 'the Katie Taylor effect' has
seen women of all ages and walks of life enter the boxing ring
in their droves to get fit, gain confidence and relieve stress.
Surprisingly large numbers went further and remained in boxing.
One such boxer now is Niamh Durack who told the Examiner :" “I
never experienced exercise like it,” she says. “I was always
fit, but with the boxing training my body shape changed and I
became more toned and shapely,” adding that the sport has many
other benefits. “There’s a good social aspect to it, it’s a
great stress-reliever and it’s challenging and different.”
Irish Head Performance Unit coach, Billy Walsh, who leads the
Irish team in Jeju added: "
“Over the last few years there’s been a big uptake, particularly
amongst women coming in from other sports,” says Walsh who
believes it has come on the back of Katie Taylor’s successes
many successes both before and after the London 2012 Olympics.
One county that has since a big increase is Cork where County
Board official Mick O'Brien told the Examiner :
“This year Cork won 20 all-Ireland titles and four or five of
those were won by women representing the city and county. Katie
Taylor has been a major influence — young women are attracted to
the sport because of her,” says O’Brien.
Females now make up about 20%-25% of overall membership — eight
years ago that figure would have been about five per cent, says
O’Brien, whose own board represents 31 clubs throughout the
“That’s a very big jump, and central to it is Katie Taylor,” he
Younger boxers too, like Christine Desmond have had an impact
since London 2012. Desmond took silver at a recent AIBA Youth
Championships and represented Ireland at the Nanjing Youth
Olympics this year, where boxing was included for the first time.
The 5ft 10 inches, 18-year-old, from Kilnamartyra, is a World
Youth silver medallist, and has 10 Irish titles, including an
intermediate, an under-22 and two under-18s. She came fourth in
the Youth Olympics, in China, last August, and also holds a
bronze European medal.
Christine Desmond/Katie Taylor (photos:(c)
Though Taylor is indeed her inspiration, Desmond started at
eight, after watching her twin brother, Michael, in the local
boxing club. “Michael and I always did everything together, so I
went along to see what it was like,” she says. She won her first
All-Ireland medal at 13.“Many people cannot understand why a
girl would box,” says Desmond.
She has though experienced negativity to as she told 'the
Examiner' . When she was 15, some boys sneered. Some still do.
“They’d be offering to fight me, but I just laugh at them; I
don’t rise to it. The boxing community really respects me.
It’s usually just fellas outside the community who seem to want
to take me on or put me down. I think they feel a bit threatened
— I don’t generally get it from boys I know. It’s more from
fellas I don’t know”.
The benefits of the sport are fantastic, she says. “The fitness
and the discipline are marvelous — boxing requires you to be
really fit and you learn good defence skills. It’s also a great
confidence booster. I’m strong and confident about myself. I’d
recommend boxing for girls, not just for the physical fitness,
but it’s very good psychologically- if you have a bad day, you
can take it out on the bag.” Christine is now herself aiming for
future Olympic glory.