For some, the fact 18-year-old Katelynn Phelan has linked up with Assassin Promotions and ended a glittering career in the headguard will prove more significant than most new fighters entering the paid ranks.
Status quo suggests the Kildare light welterweight should remain in the amateur ranks and try to forge a reputation as an elite athlete with world and even Olympic success – and considering she is a seven-time Irish champion, European Junior, and World Youth bronze medallist that path certainly looked an option.
Then, Once there was nothing more to be achieved in the amateurs, then the pro ranks would prove a career bonus.
It’s a path that has been tread by Olympic champions Katie Taylor and Estelle Mossely while Kelly Harrington has also indicated that she would like to turn professional post-2020.
However, the younger sister of pro Allan Phelan becomes the the first female under 30 to turn pro since trailblazers Deirdre Gogarty and Deirdre Nelson in the 1990s.
The aforementioned fight philosophers will point to the success and exploding profile of the likes of Taylor, Claressa Shields, Cecilia Braekhus, and Christina Hammer and suggests they have now given female fighters a second boxing option.
The pro end of the game is no longer an added bonus or a way to prolong your career. The current climate provides the chance for stardom and financial security and is becoming more tempting for young talents.
Even closer to home, the likes of Lynn Harvey, who challenges for the EBU European minnimumweight title later this month, and the recent codification of Irish title rules prove that the pros are a real option domestically
However, for Phelan it’s as simple as fulfilling a personal dream.
“I’ve always wanted to turn pro and it’s been a dream for a good few years,” Ireland’s second youngest pro boxer told Irish-Boxing.com- Cork’s James Power remains the youngest at just 17.
“When I was younger and only started boxing I had the Olympics in mind but then the older I got I started thinking for myself and decided what I want in life and I kept circling back to going pro.”
While it seems pro boxing was just a personal preference for a fighter the IABA will be sad to lose out on, Phelan is aware that the climate has changed and she could benefit as a result.
“I think there will be a lot more boxers turning professional in the next few years and females are getting more opportunities now as well. You have the likes of Katie Taylor and Heather ‘The Heat’ Hardy out there and seeing them gives me great motivation.”
The age factor is another thing not lost on the teen operator and she believes an 18-year-old in the pro ranks will make people sit up and take note.
Indeed, she plans to force them to take note when she debuts live on TG4 on the ‘Clash of the Titans’ bill at the National Stadium come Saturday March 30th.
“There are not many young female pros out there so I believe I will make a mark in the pro ranks,” she adds before promising a show from both her and her brother – who boxes Aiden Metcalfe for the BUI Celtic super featherweight title – later this month as they make history as the first brother and sister to fight on the same pro card in Ireland.
“I can guarantee you a great fight with plenty of skill. People won’t expect what myself and my brother Allan are going to bring on the night but I know for a fact we won’t let anyone down.”
Short term debut success is not all Phelan is after. The talented prospect is sees belts in her future and she claims she will do all she can to ensure mainstream success.
The Kildare puncher outlined how “Assassin are great and treat their fighters right. I know there will be big things coming.”
“Short term I plan to build my record and get experience and long term I’m chasing them title belts.
“I believe I can get them. I’ve always been dedicated to the sport and once I set my mind to something I won’t stop till achieve it,” she adds before revealing her motivations go beyond the personal.
“I also want to inspire younger boxers especially females that have been trough hard times to show them there’s always light at the end of the tunnel.”
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