IABA and Irish Boxers receive funding boost for 2019


Irish amateur boxing has received an overall funding boost of almost 10% ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Sport Ireland this morning announced their funding for National Governing Bodies for the forthcoming year, with boxing – through the Irish Athletic Boxing Assiciation – set to receive both increased organisational funding and higher grants for Elite fighters.

The governing body for the sport will receive €1,245,000 in total, with €475,000 being the core grant and a further €770,000 going to the High Performance Unit.

These figures have increased from their 2018 equivalents which were €432,000 and €700,000 respectively – and had been unchanged from 2017 – with the HPU also getting an additional €50,000 in the wake of the Irish women’s silver medal at the Hockey World Cup.

Boxing is the fourth-most funded sport after Athletics (€1,790,000), Horse Sport (€1,565,000), and Swimming (€1,540,000), – coming in just ahead of Sailing (€1,185,000).

It was another successful year on the international scene for Elite Irish fighters, and the High Performance Unit has made the first dent into the €200,000 cut in the wake of the disastrous Rio Olympics.

Unlike in previous years, the governing body and high performance funding has been announced alongside the individual grants for Elite Irish fighters and there has also been increases here.

This year, NINE Irish boxers have received grants from the state body under the carding scheme, totaling €188,000.

This is an increase over the €172,000 shared across ten boxers in 2018 and the €132,000 divvied up across six fighters in 2018.

Irish team captain Joe Ward retains his ‘Podium’-level €40,000 grant and the Moate light heavy has been joined at this level by new lightweight World Champion Kelly Harrington.

Harrington has been bumped up from the €20,000 ‘World Class’ bracket, with three fighters being awarded this level of funding – Belfast flyweight Brendan Irvine and new EU bantam champion Kurt Walker along with European featherweight bronze medallist Michaela Walsh who has been increased from ‘International’ funding.

The €12,000 ‘International’ tier features four fighters – Offaly welter Gráinne Walsh, Galway welter Kieran Molloy, and Portlaoise middle Michael Nevin who retain along with the new addtion of Dublin heavyweight Kirill Afanasev.

Cork’s Christina Desmond, who has had a torrid time with injuries, and the now-pro Sean McComb, have been removed from funding.

In what is encouraging news, for the first time, the individual funding will be renewed for the nine fighters in 2020 to take the financial pressure and worry off and allow them to focus on their sport ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. It is unclear if fighters can improve their level of funding for 2020 with their performances in 2019.

Boxing’s place at the Tokyo Olympics is still in doubt, with the international governing body being suspended pending investigation, the results of which are due in June.

However, the awarding of High Performance funding for Irish boxers is seen as a positive amidst the uncertainty and the IABA noted how they were “encouraged to see Carding and high performance funding in general being awarded for 2019 & 2020. This provides greater certainty up to Tokyo 2020 and is a major step towards multi annual funding.”

Additional funding for high performing fighters in 2019 will also be allocated next year.

In individual carded athlete terms, with €188,000 across 9 fighters, Irish boxers are the fifth best-funded Irish sportspeople behind track and field athletes (€440,000 across 11 athletes), cyclists (€268,000 across 16 athletes), swimmers (€240,000 across 15 athletes), and rowers (€200,000 across 9 athletes and targeted pooled funding).

Last year, Irish boxers won a total of 49 major international medals at all age groups (10 gold, 17 silver, 22 bronze) and 59% of all medals won by Irish athletes at Youth and Junior level.

While this year has seen an increase in fighters receiving funding, it is still a long way off from the heyday of 2010 where 44 boxers (27 senior, 17 underage) divvied out €565,583.

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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: [email protected]