It was a case of silent assassin rather than ‘Smiling Assassin’ as Katelynn Phelan registered possibly the biggest Irish away win of 2020 last night.
The Kildare Town favourite changed her career trajectory significantly by handing the previously undefeated, massively fancied, and significantly backed Jessica Schadko a beat down in Bavaria.
Phelan collected three career-enhancing titles as well as a big scalp by forcing the German-based Ukrainian to quit on her stool following five rounds of fury.
The St Brigid’s graduate’s approach wasn’t overly complex or refined, but the overall plan was masterful, cunning, well thought out, and most importantly successful.
Saturday night effectively represented an ambush, a successful raid that saw Phelan plunder three titles from her opponent’s literal home gym.
“We kind of guessed that they were underestimating me so we thought it would be a great idea if we went quiet,” Phelan explained in the immediate aftermath of the sixth-round technical knockout win.
“All my fights were taken down [off the internet], my social media was private, nothing could be seen – they didn’t really know what to expect, all they could see was a 3-0 record. “
“They didn’t know my amateur record, what my fights were like, what I was training like. We kept everything as a surprise attack.”
If they had done a bit more homework team Schadko would have noted Phelan is a talented decorated amateur, who made the unique decision to turn over young.
They would have also realized they were handing that talent significant notice, notice which she really benefited from – especially following the initial September 5th postponement.
“Training went really well, I stayed in training and I didn’t stop. Me and Niall [Barrett, coach] had a gameplan for everything. We were ready for the fight [before it was pushed back] but we just sat down as a team and looked at what all my strengths and weaknesses were throughout my last camp and what we could do to make them even more better for this camp.”
“Everything was better, I was running faster, I was lifting heavier, my punches were stronger, everything worked out better. I’m glad that it was postponed.”
While ‘operation ambush’ didn’t allow the German’s to learn just how much of a risk they were taking in offering Phelan the fight, the ‘Smiling Assassin’s’ team knew they kind of chance they were taking.
Travelling to Germany is always deemed risky, never mind when you’re fighting in your more experienced opponent’s home gym.
However, it’s a chance Phelan was never going to knock back.
“It was a massive risk to come over here but, then again, I am a professional fighter, I signed up for it when I signed my professional contract. If you don’t take opportunities like this and big risks, then you’re not going to get offered them again.”
“We had to take it with both hands and I’m glad I did.”