Seven fighters make the trip to Sofia for the European Championships where they will look to add to the seven medals Ireland have previously won at the tournament.
Making her first appearance at a major international tournament at Senior level will be light flyweight Lauren Hogan. The 20 year old is a two-time Senior Elite Champion and European Youth bronze medal winner, and is tipped for big things in the sport.
A relatively latecomer to boxing, Hogan only stepped into the ring in her mid-teens. A natural talent, she jumped quickly into underage international standard, Hogan admits that it was not ideal at the start. However, since hitting Senior Elite level, she now feels that she is learning the intricacies of the sport.
Hogan spoke to Irish-Boxing.com and recalled how “I quickly went to the top, being sent to the World Youth Championships in September 2013 after only stepping into a boxing gym the previous September. I have gained huge experience from then but it hasn’t been all great, because of it we had to skip a few things along the way, strength and conditioning was barely done, technique wasn’t focused on as much as it should of been. Everything was happening so quickly so we just stuck to the fundamentals.”
“Now that I am elite there is obviously a huge difference so we are trying to go back to the start and do everything right.”
“I have high hopes for the future, reasonably high hopes.”
Describing her style, Hogan detailed how “my favourite [style] would be countering you’re more relaxed and just waiting to pounce. I can vary, if you want to stand toe to toe and fight, I’ll fight. If you want to attack, I’ll counter. If you want to go on the back foot I’ll attack.”
“What way I will box depends on my opponent, every fight is different, it depends what is working and what isn’t.”
The youngest member of the seven woman Irish team, the Meath fighter disagrees that this takes the pressure of to a degree. Hogan outlined that “age doesn’t matter in this sport. Being the youngest doesn’t take any pressure off. I will be getting in to fight woman a lot older and with a lot more experience behind them, but with the knowledge my team mates and coaches have will help me.”
“Nerves are good to a certain extent. There’s always going to be nerves, if you’re not nervous there’s something wrong.”
Preparations have gone perfectly for the 20 year old and she states that “I am fully confident I have trained hard. Mentally and physically I am ready and that’s all I can do at this stage. Everything has been done, all that’s left is to weigh in and leave everything I have in that ring!”
Hogan is part of the set-up at St Brigid’s BC Edenderry, one of the top clubs in the country for women’s boxing. Explaining the Offaly club’s success, Hogan described how “its facilities are great for a starter, there are bikes and rowers and weights, a proper gym. Then of course your bags and ring there’s plenty of floor space fitting nearly 40 kids on to train, we also have a steam shower and sauna.”
“Due to it being so popular with many countries coming over for camps they are looking to build an extension for more rings more rooms more floor space which is needed due to the popularity of it.”
“The club itself has gotten a lot of experience not just for their club members but for many girls at international level in Ireland in bringing teams to France, Turkey, Spain, Norway, Canada the list goes on!”
“It’s what Ireland needs someone to focus on woman’s boxing for once! And get us the experience that is needed.”