By Michael O’Neill
Recently we brought you news that Katie Taylor is to have her first bout of 2016 on the Kanturk Boxing club card on 19th February at the Dromtariffe Community Hall.
Her opponent is one of Sweden’s most talented young boxers, Jelena Jelic and naturally she too is hoping to progress to the Rio Olympics via the AOB European qualifiers in Turkey in early April.
So as little is known in Ireland of the boxer who will ‘glove off’ against Katie Taylor, your correspondent took the opportunity of discussing her plans with the Malmo BC lightweight.
Will she, we wondered, be aiming to represent Sweden in those forthcoming EUBC Olympic qualifiers?
“No. I will represent my native Serbia. That was my goal since I decided to box for Serbia, to qualify for the Olympic Games.
Presumably you are eagerly looking forward to meeting the AIBA World No. 1 and Olympic champion in Kanturk?
“Definitely. We have never really been each other’s competitors , because in every championship that I have boxed at the European championships , World championships and European Games we’ve always been in different weight groups .
Now here is a chance for me to face the reigning champion in my weight class of 60 kg. Why not, I say ?
‘Yes it’s going to be a good day that day’. Should be a great experience and I am looking forward to my short visit to Ireland.
I think it will be a really fun evening in Kanturk even though the Hall will be packed with her fans’
How did the Kanturk fight come about?
“Patrick Flynn contacted my friend Patricia Berghult about me and then I contacted him the same day and told him that ‘YES I will take the fight. Some weeks ago now, I underwent a minor surgery but now I’m feeling good and have been training 100% so 5 weeks of hard training will be sufficient’.
So much to look forward to then for the fans in Kanturk but what if the 20 years old does not qualify for the Olympics? Well it’s a bit early to talk about turning Pro but my own ‘best guess’ is that if she does not earn a place in Rio then she may well turn Professional and she is clearly a talented boxer who could go far in later years as a Pro.
Sadly neither the Serbian coach nor her club coaches will be able to travel to Ireland since the Taylor bout clashes with prior commitments they have but she will be in good hands, with boyfriend and himself a champion boxer and coach, from Cali, Colombia, Emil Pettersson in her corner.
Our thanks to Jelena for having facilitated this interview and to Jim McConvill and the Kanturk club for organising what promises to be a great night’s boxing at the Dromtariffe Community Hall.
A reminder that admission will be €20 and Juveniles €10 – understandably no unaccompanied children will be allowed admission.