BUI confirm Irish and Celtic title rules for women as boom begins


We go into 2019 with the most active female Irish professional boxers ever.

Five women from these shores currently ply their trade in the pros – unified WBA-IBF lightweight world champion Katie Taylor [12(5)-0] from Bray, Belfast super fly Cathy McAleer [1(0)-0], Kilbarrack light fly Lynn Harvey [5(4)-1(0)[, Kerry super feather Siobhán O’Leary [1(1)-0], and Monaghan super feather Elaine Greenan [2(0)-2(0)]

With increasing numbers comes increasing potential for domestic fights and the Boxing Union of Ireland [BUI] have confirmed their national title requirements ahead of what promises to be a massive year for Irish boxing.

Unlike in the men’s side of the sport where World and European titles are contested over twelve three-minute rounds, women’s boxing sees its major belts fought over ten two-minute rounds.

At national level, the Irish men’s title is fought over ten threes while the stepping-stone BUI Celtic belt is an eight-round affair. With an eight-round contest being one of the requirements for Irish title eligibility, the BUI Celtic offers the perfect pathway to the main crown.

No BUI Celtic title or Irish title has ever been contested between two Irish females and the BUI have informed Irish-Boxing.com today that, if and when these fights come about, the Irish title will be fought over eight two-minute rounds and the BUI Celtic belt over six two-minute rounds.

The BUI Celtic belt requires at least one half of the match-up to be an Irish licence holder but opponents can be brought in from Celtic regions in Britain, France, Spain, and Portugal.

The Irish title – which for women is assumed to require a previous six-round contest for eligibility – needs both competitors to be Irish licence holders.

More women are expected to enter the pro ranks in 2019 but the current crop already throws up some potential clashes.

While the weight disparity may be too much, Harvey could fancy taking on McAleer. Dubliner Harvey is looking for big fights in 2019 while 40-year-old McAleer is looking to be fast-tracked.

Harvey had accepted a fight with top German Sarah Bormann but this would not come to fruition and she instead ended her brief retirement with a quick knockout win over Kitti Kolompar. One week previously, McAleer debuted in a war with the game Bulgarian Teodora Hristova and she returns to the ring on the big Ulster Hall show next month having signed a three-fight deal with Mark Dunloop.

Monaghan’s Greenan, who is now living in Scotland, began her career with two successive narrow defeats out of the away corner above her optimum weight. Bouncing back with a win over Vaida Masiokaite, Greenan then scored a good away win over Bec Connolly.

A fight in her homeland could appeal to Greenan and a title tussle with new pro O’Leary as part of the Celtic Clash series seems to make sense. The Limerick-based Kerrywoman scored a big knockout win over Klaudia Cszasar in her debut and wants perhaps one more learning fight before moving into more exciting match-ups.

The only ever all-Irish women’s bout saw trailblazers Deirdre Gogarty and Anne-Marie Griffin fight in Limerick in 1991. Gogarty won this six rounder on points before relocating to America where she would become one of the sport’s biggest names of the 1990s, winning a featherweight world title and being one half of a famous fight with Christy Martin.

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie