The Belfast flyweight defeated young star Niamh Earley to claim the Irish Elite title on Saturday night in Dublin and was left completely overjoyed by the result.
A close, messy fight, McNaul emerged a 3-2 split decision winner and, with reigning champ and established international Céire Smith not entering, looks to be the front-runner to represent Ireland at the three major tournaments [European Games, European Championships, World Championships] later this year
“It was a tough fight, it was messy so it was, she kept holding me,” McNaul told Irish-Boxing.com afterwards.
“I’m a very slow starter, the first round, it takes me a bit and then I normally come out stronger in the second and third and I think that wins me my fights.”
“I was nervous, when I saw the big crowd. It was more nerves than what I would normally have – but the nerves paid off.”
McNaul’s physical strength was perhaps the deciding factor, with the East Belfast fighter having worked her way down from middleweight.
The 29-year-old explained how “I won the Ulsters at 70kg one time and I’ve boxed at every weight on the way down. I’ve fought Kelly Harrington four times, I’ve fought Dervla Duffy, I’ve fought Michaela Walsh, I’ve fought all the big names out there just never at the right weight.”
“I never understood what it meant to actually make weight. I just kept going and 51kg is my weight now and I’m making the weight comfortably.”
“I’ve got a lot of help from Lean Supper Club, they sponsored me my meal plan and it’s paying off in the fights.”
A late developer in boxing, the Commonwealth Games silver medallist is looking to keep improving and winning.
McNaul outlined how “I’m getting more fights now and I’m far more experienced than I’ve ever been. Each time I go out, I’m learning something different.”
“I like to go home and watch my fights back about 30 times, I’m my own worst enemy for criticising myself, but I need to learn what I have to do and I’ll keep on improving.”
“I’m looking forward to what’s ahead of me. I’m going for everything, so I am.”
“I can’t thank my son Jaden enough, if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be here, this is all for him.”
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)