Irish Boxers receive big funding boost ahead of Tokyo 2020

For the second year running, Irish amateur boxing has received an overall funding boost 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 Association – set to receive both increased organisational funding and higher grants for Elite fighters.

The governing body for the sport will receive €1,270,000 in total, with €500,000 being the core grant and a further €770,000 going to the High Performance Unit.

The High Performance Unit Grant remains the same as 2019 but the Core Grant is up €25,000.

Boxing is the fourth-most funded sport after Athletics, Horse Sport, and Swimming.

There has also been a major increase in individual grants for Elite Irish fighters – improving from €188,000 shared across nine boxers to €284,000 shared amongst eleven fighters.

As had been confirmed last year, those who received grants in 2019 would receive guaranteed repeat funding in 2020 and this has proven to be the case.

Eight of the nine funded boxers from 2019 have received the same – or more – this year, while Joe Ward has been removed from the system following his move to the pro game.

Kelly Harrington keeps her €40,000 ‘Podium’ funding and is joined in the top bracket by European champions Kurt Walker (up from €20,000) and Aoife O’Rourke (a new entry) as well as Michaela Walsh (also up from €20,000).

At the €20,000 ‘World Class’ tier remains Brendan Irvine and he has been joined by Grainne Walsh and Michael Nevin who have both been upgraded from the €12,000 ‘International’ bracket following European Games bronzes.

Also at the €20,000 World Class level, there are two new entries in European bronze winners Amy Broadhurst and the returning Christina Desmond.

Finally, at ‘International’ level there is Kieran Molloy and Kirill Afanasev, both taking home €12,000.

There are a number of other boxers, it could be argued, that have been hard done by considering their international achievements and/or results versus funded fighters, but the overall trend is encouraging.

Irish boxers are currently preparing for the the Olympic qualifiers which will take place over the coming months in London and Paris.

Which boxers will be sent remains to be seen, with the High Performance Unit yet to make final decisions.


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: