Kelly Harrington hopes for future fight with Katie Taylor


New World Champion Kelly Harrington is targeting gold at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 but admits that a move into the pros afterwards might appeal.

Indeed, the Dublin lightweight is open to a potential pro meeting with her Irish 60kg predecessor Katie Taylor [11(5)-0].

Bray’s Taylor dominated the amateur game for a decade, claiming 18 major gold medals including top spot on the podium at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

For a lot of this time, Harrington was in the picture, operating at welterweight and light welterweight.

Indeed, Taylor’s last major international medal came at Harrington’s first, with the pair taking bronze and silver respectively at the 2016 World Championships.

Following the disastrous Rio Olympics, Taylor would turn pro and has since raced to the WBA and IBF lightweight titles which she defends tomorrow night at Madison Square Garden versus Eva Wahlström

Back in the amateurs, Harrington has made the move down to Olympic-eligible lightweight class and claimed EU silver, European bronze, and a fabulous World gold last month in New Delhi.

The inner-city Dub now has her sights firmly set on the Olympics in Japan in 2020, should boxing be part of the schedule, but she refuses to rule out an eventual pro career.

Harrington was part of the Second Captains live end-of-year specials recently at the Liberty Hall Theatre in Dublin and her interview was published on the popular podcast today

During the chat the 28-year-old revealed that her move down to lightweight was a natural one and not one borne out of opportunism following Taylor’s defection to the pros – as is so often suggested.

“If she had stayed, we would have fought in the Nationals,” explained Harrington. “But she was gone so that was the end of that, really.”

Detailing her history in relation to Taylor, the Northsider explained how “I’ve always been in the shadows of Katie and everybody compares you to Katie. Katie is a phenomenal athlete, she’s just class. There’s no other word to describe her other than ‘legend’.”

“I’ve always been in the shadows of her and, growing up, I would have never had the confidence to get in and fight Katie. It wasn’t until 2015 that I started to get a bit of confidence into myself. I had a notion of fighting Katie then at that stage, I was like ‘maybe I could get in and give her a run for her money’.”

“2016, when I got the medal Worlds, then I really started to fancy myself, thinking ‘Jesus, maybe I could drop the weight and see if I can try and go for the Olympics’. I did drop but she was gone then.”

The suggestion of a clash in the pros was then put forward, to which the large crowd in attendance responded extremely positively, but the caveat of ‘after Tokyo’ was quickly included.

“Just tell her to stick around until I’m finished [in the amateurs] and then it would be great for that to happen,” outlined the Dubliner.

“That’s the fight that everybody wants and there’s no point in hiding it.”

“I’ll be going kerching, nevermind the fight, kerching,” joked Harrington.

By the time the 2020 Olympics roll around, Harrington will be 29 [the St Mary’s stylist turned 28 on Tuesday] while Taylor will have just turned 34.

Any fight between the pair would then, surely, not be until the later half of 2021 at the very earliest to allow Harrington to develop into the pro ranks.

It is not inconceivable that Taylor could be retired by this stage – with her team plotting an unprecedented 2019 which would see her become the undisputed lightweight champion, a multi-weight titlist, and the pound-for-pound best active female pro on the planet – if not all time.

However, if she chooses to “stick around” as Harrington hopes, there could be a special, special fight down the line.

You can listen to Kelly Harrington’s interview in full by joining the brilliant Second Captains World Service where you will also get access to all six (at least) weekly podcasts (CLICK HERE)

dpg

logo may

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: joneill6@tcd.ie