Leona Houlihan got the job done early on Friday night at the Elite Senior finals in Dublin.
With piston-like straight shots, the Crumlin BC fighter forced a count in the first round before scoring a second round stoppage over Mourne’s Caroline Connolly at the National Stadium.
The knockout win saw Houlihan add the Elite Senior 81kg title to the Senior (Intermediate) belt she won last year.
An elated Houlihan spoke to Irish-Boxing.com afterwards and laughed at how “I don’t really remember a whole lot of it! When it ended I didn’t actually know what happened, it all happened so fast.”
“I didn’t really know what to expect because I didn’t know a whole lot about her or her form. But I knew that I trained really hard and that my fitness would shine through. She came at me fast, dazzled me a little bit, but in the second round I settled a little bit, took a step back, and just tried to land that right hand.”
Land that right hand indeed, and Houlihan regularly found a home for the ram-rod backhand, evoking memories of a certain Vitali Klitschko for The Irish Sun’s Kevin Byrne.
While it may not have seemed like it in the ring, Houlihan is a relative newcomer to the sport, and admitted to being in awe of the big occasion.
“I’m pretty new to this” she said. “It was absolutely terrifying. When you do the parade it kind of opens your mind to it and that’s when the nerves set in, that ‘this is real now.’ I knew it was coming, but it wasn’t real.”
The victory yet to really sink in, the 37 year old described how “it’s quite intimidating really, sitting in the dressing room with ‘real’ boxers.”
While she may not have felt it beforehand, the destructively clinical performance certainly proved something, Leona Houlihan is a real boxer.
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)