Deirdre Gogarty donated her two most precious boxing kits to Drogheda Boxing Club and Millmount Museum after what she described as a ‘healing week’ back home last month.
The original trailblazer was back in Ireland for Katie Taylor week to support the fighter she first inspired, as well as to raise awareness about her fight to fight and the drive to raise funds for a statue in her honour to be erected in her home town.
As well as a ton of media appearances and a Night With Deirdre Gogarty, the former world champion also visited the Millmount Museum to whom she donated the blue boxing kit she wore in her first world title attempt against Stacey Prestage in the Kansas City, Missouri, USA on Tuesday 23rd of November 1993.
Although Gogarty lost that particular bout on points it carries a lot of significance as it was the FIRST EVER WORLD TITLE BOXING BOUT BETWEEN TWO WOMEN IN HISTORY with both challenging for the WIBF lightweight world title. Although it was a loss on the Irish stars record, it was a win for women’s boxing.
Ireland’s first female professional boxer and female professional world champion then donated her full boxing world title-winning kit – worn on March 2nd 1997 against Bonnie Canino – to Drogheda Boxing Club. This kit carries a lot of history and significance to the Drogheda native, as she beat Canino that day to become WIBF Super featherweight World Champion. That win made her Ireland’s first female professional boxing world champion as well as Drogheda’s first and only professional boxing world champion. This kit was green with a white vest. The white vest was also worn the year before in the famous war with Christy Martin. This event was also attended by the minister for sport Thomas Byrne who also gave his support for the committees cause for a statue to be erected in Drogheda.
Deirdre gave the below statement:
” Healing has been the word best to describe my week back at home. The welcome I have been given by the town of Drogheda and the boxing fraternity has warmed my heart and made it feel like a second homecoming. From all the coverage I’ve had over the last week with Drogheda’s local press as well as national press, I think people now see the big picture with Katie Taylor headlining in Ireland. When I first won the world title in 1997, I don’t think people realized at the time the significance of it. But now I think people see the huge battles myself and the few after me like Deirdre Nelson, Katie Taylor & Christina Mc Mahon had outside the ring to give young girls now even the privilege to walk into a boxing ring. The businesses in Drogheda and people of Drogheda have been so kind and warm to me, and I am so grateful for that. It has brought back so many memories of when I was a young girl cycling to the Boxing club dreaming of being a World champion. Thus, I think it is only right I donate my most valuable world title kits to the people of the town.
Firstly, Drogheda Boxing Club, who were the first in Ireland to not only only give me, but women an opportunity to box. I will always be in debt to the great Joe Leonard who let me walk into the gym and train in May 1987. Who knows where women’s boxing would be today if he said no? So for that very reason I give my winning world title kit to the club.
Secondly, growing up as a young girl dreaming of being a world champion, I also always secretly dreamt that my memorabilia would be in the Millmount museum for the locals to see. This was a dream of mine before I even had a fight. And now 20 years after retirement, I am finally in the position to do that. So I was proud to pledge my blue boxing kit I wore in challenging for my first world title.
With the 10 days I have had back home, I must say Thank you, The People of Drogheda”