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Taoiseach: Pro boxing cannot happen here - but I want more funding

Ciaran Bradley
Ciaran Bradley

23:12 4 May 2021

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said that he wants to secure more funding for grassroots boxing, but that professional fights in this country are unlikely for a significant period of time.

Martin spoke to Off The Ball on Tuesday, and explained that he has particular regard for the sport, but that there is an existing tension between amateur and professional statuses in the country.

"I take a sport like boxing, for example, I think that it is very underfunded," Martin told Joe Molloy.

"It needs, particularly at grassroots level, we need far better facilities across the country.

"There is great work being done by boxing clubs across the country, but they need more administrative capacity. With that administrative capacity, the projects would come through them. Often those projects don't come through."

Boxing

After the Regency Hotel shooting in 2016, and another shooting outside the National Boxing Stadium in 2018, security concerns have undermined the policing of professional events in the country.

Martin believes that it is unlikely that the country will host any professional matches in the near future, after consultation with the Gardai.

"I think the whole world of professional boxing is in difficulty," said the Taoiseach. "I worry about it.

"I have great time for amateur boxing, I am not as enthusiastic for professional boxing anymore.

"I don't believe we can see it any time soon, from what I am hearing,"

Martin said that the safety of the boxers themselves is in jeopardy because of the surrounding violence that has besmirched innocent participants in recent years.

"It is very challenging for the athlete because they want to be the very best at their sport, but it's not a comfortable environment in some areas, no doubt about that.

"I can't see it and if that's what the Gardaí and others are saying, well that's it, we've seen what's happened here already at some events and it's not good.

"That may change but it's very problematic at the moment.

"There have to be very clean interests involved in these fights, it has to be above board, there can be no issues around and for the sake of the athletes as well.

"For the safety of fans and everyone else, it's not on at the moment."


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