The sweet science cemented it’s status as Ireland’s best Olympic sport in Tokyo over the last few weeks.
Of the 35 medals claimed at the Olympiad for Ireland 19 now come from boxing after Kellie Harrington and Aidan Walsh’s 2021 success.
Harrington followed in the footsteps of Michael Carruth and Katie Taylor to win gold and push boxing into the spotlight, while Walsh added to the country’s bronze medal tally in the kind of stylish fashion that earned the sport new fans.
Speaking on RTE former WBO middleweight world champion Lee called for money to be pumped into the sport to not only ensure results like seen in Japan but to save lives across the country.
“It’s a challenge to whoever is in control to fund boxing in Ireland,” Lee said.
“Boxing thrives in disadvantaged areas. It needs support because there have been many lives saved through boxing.
“So if you keep investing in boxing you’re going to see the returns.”
Bejing 2008 silver medal winner, Egan argues boxing clubs will need financial help to deal with the influx of Olympic-inspired enthusiasts.
“This is going to put a lot of pressure on boxing clubs now to facilitate the increase that’s going to happen now over the next number of months,” the Dubliner said.
“Boxing clubs are a safe haven; they open the doors to everybody. They don’t discriminate and that’s the beautiful thing about boxing – everyone is welcome into a boxing club.
“So you will see a huge increase now over the next few months of boys and girls wanting to be the next Kellie Harrington or Katie Taylor.
“That’s what we want. More bodies in the clubs to give us a better chance to select top-class amateurs that go and represent the country in order to get to an Olympic Games, in order to get Olympic medals.
“We need to keep that conveyor belt going.
“Boxing clubs all over the country need that push to keep kids involved in the sport.”
There also needs to be funding for the elite-level talent. A number of young Paris prospects have already ditched the singlet to explore pro options and a host of the current team will have offers. Egan claims there needs to be funding to ensure those fighters stay.
“But that’s a great team that was sent with seven boxers and it’s only three years now until Paris. Let’s keep a few of that team of seven, drive them onto Paris, and please God we’ll have a few more medals on the list.
“Boxing is fantastic in this country – it really is.”