Even More of a Wrecking Ball – McNaul Aiming to go One Better in Birmingham

Carly McNaul says she is now 10 times the boxer she was when she won a Commonwealth Games medal in 2018.

And the Belfast fighter is looking forward to shocking the world with her new and improved style similar to the way she surprised the Irish fight fraternity when she ended a nigh on two-year break from the ring last December.

The flyweight was away from the sport for 21 months after suffering a broken femur, having an eye operation, and suffering pandemic problems.

It became a case of out of sight out of mind and she slipped out of the International thinking until she came back with a new style and a bang in December of 2022.

The 32-year-old won the Ulster Elites and has since gone to represent Ireland at the World Championships as well as multiple multi-nations and goes into the Birmingham-hosted Games with a #5 world ranking.

She also goes into the tournament brimming with confidence and with a new more refined style she is excited to show off.

“I’m a completely different boxer,” said the 32-year-old. “I’m no. 5 in the world, most people know who I am.

“I am just looking forward to getting out there and putting on great performances, and letting the world see me win that gold because I’m 10 times the boxer I was in 2018.”

Speaking about her prolonged break, McNaul cannot recall any feelings of isolation. It was merely a time for self-reflection and development.

“I came off social media and nobody knew what I had been doing,” she explained.

“I was just away working on myself. And I came back and when I went into the ring in the Ulsters, I boxed completely differently.

“Nobody expected me to box the way I did, and I was able to show the world that I’m not a one-trick pony.”

Since then, the Ormeau Road BC fighter has been building towards her second Commonwealth Games, with World Championships framed as a dress rehearsal for the summer.

She said: “I went and beat two Olympians but didn’t know they were Olympians until afterwards when I was being interviewed.

“That gave me great confidence to know that I can compete at that level.”

On a personal level, she wishes she could spend more time at home with her 12-year-old son, Jayden, but does confess her relief that he has so far stayed away from boxing.

“It’s so hard being away from him but that gives me more drive to do it for him and to help change our lives,” McNaul said.

“He can see I want to make him proud, and he can learn some great lessons, that if you work hard it will pay off.

“Thank goodness he doesn’t box. But I want to do it for him because I always say, ‘son it will all play off’.

“It hasn’t fully paid off for me but when I have a gold medal in my hand that will be me satisfied.”

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