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“Everyone wanted the spot” – Harrington happy to earn place on Irish team at Olympic weight

Kelly Harrington claimed Elite title number seven on Friday night and did so with the kind of swagger that suggests that she will cement her place as the new star of Irish women’s boxing going forward.

The Glasnevin fighter defeated Clonmel’s Shauna O’Keefe via a 4-1 split decision to claim the lightweight crown. In what was a competitive contest where the relentless O’Keefe played her part, Harrington was just too classy, scoring countless times on the oncoming Tipp boxer with eye-catching check-hooks.

It was a first lightweight title for Harrington, who moved down to 60kg following Katie Taylor’s switch to the pros, and the 27 year old is targeting a place at the 2020 Tokyo Games following her entry into the Olympic-eligible weight.

Afterwards she said that “I’m really happy. I’ve been chasing that 60kg title and wasn’t confident to go for it for years. I thought this year was my year. Katie’s not here, so why not go in and give it a bash?”

“Everybody wanted the spot so yeah, I’m glad to get it done, get it over with, and earn my place on the team again. Things are really getting going with the IABA and with women’s boxing and the High Performance, I’m glad I’m part of the team at this moment in time.”

kelly harrington shauna okeefeOn the fight itself, the inner-city Dub explained how “we had a game-plan going out, myself and my coaches. We stuck to the game-plan.”

“Because I haven’t done the three-threes before, it was tough. I’m just glad to get that first three-threes out of the way. I felt it went well. I felt a bit tired at the end but that’s to be expected I suppose. I haven’t fought since November but I’ve been training hard.”

“Shauna is a goer. I couldn’t have got a better three-threes to prepare me for whatever’s next. She just keeps coming forward. You can hit her all day long. You can hit her with the stool and she’ll just keep coming.”

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

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on, Boxing News,, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: