Belts Matter – sort of – for European title hopeful Lynn Harvey


The blue strap is the king of the continental belts.

Some governing bodies have added ‘European’ to a list of titles that also include ‘International’, ‘Inter-Continental’ and so forth and the likes of the IBF and WBO European crowns do serve a purpose in terms of adding value to a fight and aiding boxers secure highly sought after high world rankings.

However, the EBU European title is the one with real history and prestige and the fighter who buckles that around their waist is deemed the best on the continent at the weight.

That’s the prize on offer for Lynn Harvey [5(4)-1(0)] when she fights Spaniard Catalina Diaz [4(0)-2(0)] on Wednesday February 27th.

Victory in that strawweight [105lbs] title clash could see the Dubliner make history, equal an achievement a host of great Irish European kings can dine out on well into retirement, and would press the fast-forward button on her career.

Affiliated to the WBC, a win could launch her into the world rankings and towards champ Tina Rupprecht.

Yet, while it’s a fight ‘The Hunter’ set about tracking down upon coming out of retirement, she is unaware of it’s significance both in terms of honour roll and its world title gateway potential – and is more than content to be in that position.

No one can argue Harvey doesn’t love to fight, nor question her love for boxing, but in fan terms she could be defined as a ‘casual’.

Harvey is unaware of the distinction between European belts and goes into her February clash just knowing it’s a fight she wants to win. Then, when she has the strap draped over her shoulder, she will allow people explain in detail the significance.

“I am brutal with all that,” she tells Irish-Boxing.com while bleaching her presses during a rare hour off with her typically brutal honesty.

“I don’t know about what belt is what or what this belt means over that belt. I know its a big fight and one I asked for, but don’t ask me to go into detail as to what this belt is all about. And to be honest, I don’t want to know,” laughs the 37-year-old before explaining how she is taking a ‘one fight at a time’ mantra.

“When we got the fight confirmed my manager Jay [Byrne] tried to tell me about big fights this can lead to and go into how big the fight was and I stopped him. I don’t want to hear that.”

“Honestly, I don’t have a clue. I don’t know where it brings me or what it did for other people’s careers. I have no idea and no interest. I fight to win and that is what I believe I will do in this fight,” she adds before expanding.

“I don’t really follow boxing. I don’t have the time between training and being a mother. I will go and watch friends fight and I love that. I will support anyone, but I don’t follow who is fighting who or plan to watch a fight on telly.”

“I do think I should watch more boxing just to learn, but I probably still wouldn’t be able to tell who the two fighters I watched were!”

It seems a strange admission particularly considering upon her return from a year and half away from the sport Harvey made the European title her next career goal.

A picture of the blue strap became her screensaver on her phone and became the only boxing related item on her vision board.

However, the key for Harvey was the ‘European’ element, the Kilbarrack fighter didn’t distinguish between straps. Most likely a quick ‘European title’ Google search saw the EBU belt’s picture pop up first. It was saved, printed, and instantly became the title she wanted.

Her manager tried to explain securing a shot at the EBU title would be harder than getting her a fight for a lesser rankings belt, but Harvey had her set on the title she began to admire on her phone and her wall for so long.

Now she has it and it’s probably the ultimate story for a ‘visualisation speaker’ to relay.

“Look, I know how big this fight is to me personally and that is the main thing isn’t it? I was never really one for I want the European title it was all about a world title when I turned over. Then when I came back I set the short term goal and that was the European and I want it now. I wanted that exact belt.”

“I told Jay and he was trying to tell me that the blue belt was harder to get, but I was like ‘ah Jay, that is the one I have on my vision board’.”

Now, having secured the shot and having started camp, Harvey is convinced she will win the title. The Dubliner was wary of getting excited when contact regarding the fight in Spain was first made, but she is now overjoyed and focused on triumphing next month.

“I didn’t want to get my hopes up to early after Jay contacted me. You know boxing and what can happen yourselves and you’ve seen things in my career where I was all excited then disappointed.”

“I had a good feeling about it, but I wouldn’t let myself get over excited. Then when I saw the poster I was delighted and when it was signed and over the line then I got excited.”

“I am really looking forward to it now and, the thing is, it’s a winnable fight,” she said of the clash which will play out in the Southern Spanish city of Cadiz.

Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)

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Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com