Born to be a Pro – Katelynn Phelan inspires with debut win

It didn’t take long for 18-year-old Katelynn Phelan [1(0)-0] to realize the significance of debuting on a high profile national TV broadcast fight night.

Within seconds of getting out of the ring after defeating Monika Antonik in her first paid bout the soon to be mobbed Kildare welterweight found herself in role model territory.

While the younger sister of super featherweight pro fighter Allan Phelan had fulfilled a dream, it seems she ignited dreams in the process.

The decorated amateur, who was tipped to be a senior International for Ireland before electing to drop the headgear, revealed, much to her surprise, that a young girl approached her for advice before she could even greet her ringside fans.

That reaction was present again in more fresh faces upon her return to her to club and Phelan has rejoiced as much in the fact she has ignited passion for the sport in the younger generations as she did in recording a TV-broadcast win.

“I never thought I could inspire so many people. When I went back to the boxing gym all the kids ran up to me telling me how they watched my fight and that they want to do that when they’re bigger. As soon as I got out of the ring after the win a little girl came up and asked for advice on boxing,” Phelan told

The teen puncher certainly enjoyed the reaction post her win, but possibly not as much as she enjoyed becoming part of the pro boxing scene.

The well-decorated amateur claims she felt at home in the ring and went as far as to say she was ‘born’ to be a pro.

“It was an unreal feeling,” she continues.

“I felt so much freedom with no headgear. It was especially brilliant making my debut on TG4. I feel I was born to fight in the professional game,” she adds before commenting on the amount of good will sent her way.

“The reaction I got was amazing, so many kind comments which I’m still trying to get back to everyone.”

“I can’t believe how much support I have. I’d be lost without them.”

The Assassin Promotions fighter’s desire to turn pro was well-documented before she actually punched for pay on Saturday night, but her desire to be a top pro is shown by her behavior following the win.

One of seven pro female Irish fighters on the circuit has already hit double figures in terms of the amount of times she has watched the fight back and is already noting where and how she can make improvements.

“I’ve watched my fight at least 12 times already and have a list of things I need to work on. My opponent Monika was a good girl. She was strong. She was also a bit sloppy with her grabbing which was quite annoying but we learn from things like this.”

The former World Youth and European Junior bronze medal winner will now be aware more than ever of the difference between the pro and amateur codes and will know how much adaptation is needed.

Yet, when she reflects on her debut, she just rejoices in the positives. She admits it was strange not to have a medal handed to her after the win, but claims she never felt better in a ring.

“The professional and amateur codes are so different. The pro is more calm and relaxed and your not rushed. Then, obviously, lighter gloves and no headgear which is amazing.

“It’s crazy not getting a medal for fighting though but on the plus side of things I have never felt so good getting into the ring. I was so relaxed and ready and when I was punching I knew I was hurting her too.”

TG4 were said to be extremely keen to have Phelan as part of the TV broadcast as they look to continue to support female sport – and the Kildare native, who is coached by her father. is hopeful that Saturday was the start of a successful relationship with the Irish language terrestrial station.

“Having TG4 televise my fight was a dream come trough and hopefully it is the start of something big. I’d love to have TG4 on board permanently.”

“I can’t wait to get back into the ring I am already I’m itching to fight again since I enjoy it so much, I’d like to get my record up and work my way up the ranks and show more of my skill that I have.”


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Jonny Stapleton 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: