Leona Houlihan would love international chance following second Elite crown

Just minutes after Leona Houlihan won a second Elite title at the National Stadium on Saturday night, Irish amateur boxing legend Anna Moore could be heard shouting congratulations at her.

The Limerick woman, who was given an IABA award for Outstanding Services to Irish Boxing last month, was clear.

“Don’t take no for an answer, you are a two-time Elite champion, don’t let the High Performance stop you.”

The Crumlin BC light heavyweight had indeed won her second title, defeating Lisa Browne to add to the 2017 crown she claimed previously and sealing an impressive return from an injury-filled 2018.

However, Houlihan’s future looks unsure.

After winning in 2017, the Tipperary-born fighter was not brought to the EU Championships – where she would have been guaranteed a bronze medal as only three boxers weighed-in.

At 39, this is Houlihan’s final year of eligibility for amateur boxing but, sadly, if going by recent selections from HPU chief Bernard Dunne, she faces an uphill battle to be picked for the European Championships this summer

That said, while many have been critical – such as the team of serial heavyweight champion Nell Fox – Houlihan is not one to argue too strongly.

“To be honest, I’m only in the game a little while so I can’t go shouting ‘bring me, bring me’,” she told Irish-Boxing.com before admitting that international opportunities are something she still hopes will come along in the coming months

“Absolutely, of course. I’d love to, it would be awesome if it could.”

“I work in the army, it could work, we’ll see.”

Houlihan had just scored a 3-2 split decision win over Aglish’s Lisa Browne.

A strong start from the rangier fighter gave way to a furious slugfest of a third where Browne landed plenty of bombs but Houlihan clung on for the win.

“I feel a bit sick, I’m so tired!” she laughed.

“I knew I had to dig deep so I left whatever I had left in me out there.”

“It just hit me that I wanted it more and I was able to push my body that little bit,” she added before crediting her 2017 experiences

“Not knowing what I was facing last time, and knowing this time, it made a huge difference.”

“I knew what to expect with the Stadium, the fans, the lights, everything, it was crazy.”

Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)


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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