An accountant by day, the Carlow light flyweight fell into the sport almost by accident but has since emerged as a relentless, physically-imposing puncher and now stands just one win away from being crowned the best fighter in the country.
Following a 3-2 semi-final split-decision win over Megan Doyle of the Whitechurch club on Saturday night, Coughlan will now face last year’s runner-up Shannon Sweeney in the opening bout of the National Elite Senior Championships finals night.
Coughlan only won an Intermediate title as recently as 2016, and last year was eliminated at the Elite semi final stage by eventual winner and upcoming Commonwealth Games participant Kristina O’Hara.
The Monkstown BC fighter though continues to improve rapidly and is approaching these championships with a refreshingly carefree confidence.
“I did them last year and got to the semi-finals, so it’s one step farther this year,” Coughlan told Irish-Boxing.com following her victory over Doyle – a win in which she overcame her opponent’s advantage in technical skill with superior fitness, strength, ring generalship, and a good tactical plan.
A defeat to O’Hara, an elite international talent only served to increase Coughlan’s confidence for this year.
The Tullow fighter outlined how “I was in against [Kristina O’Hara]. She was very good, the girl I fought last year, and she fought in the European Unions.”
“It was good that I didn’t get my head beat around. Now I’m more confident going into it, just not giving a shit – I’ve nothing to lose!”
As mentioned above, Coughlan is a relative newcomer to the sport and certainly isn’t overthinking her decider versus reigning under-22 champion Sweeney of St Anne’s in Westport.
“I’ve never even heard of her,” admits Coughlan before quickly adding that “I don’t know any of the girls!”
“I just turn up and do what I’m told. My coaches, they’re brilliant.”
“I only started [boxing] when I came up to Dublin. I only wanted to do, not even boxercise, just exercise, and boxing came up so I gave it a chance. It’s amazing how things turn out.”
“I have my brothers to thank, although I won’t be telling them that! All the baitings they used to give me when I was younger, preparing me for this.”