Leonard Gunning hails ‘extremely special night’ as ‘watershed moment’ for Irish boxing

Saturday night wasn’t just big in the career of Katelynn Phelan [4(1)-0], but massive in terms of Irish boxing, according to Leonard Gunning.

Indeed, an ‘extremely special night’ will prove a watershed moment for the sport on this island claims the Boxing Ireland Promotions boss.

Phelan traveled to Germany, defeated Jessica Schadko [8(2)-1(1)], a previously undefeated fighter and fancied star of the future, in her own backyard to claim a number of career-enhancing belts.

It’s a win that prompted American prospect Summer Lynn’s team to call out the Kildare native and a victory that will open doors for the up and coming 20-year-old.

It’s also a win that could benefit others in the sport and particularly those in the Boxing Ireland stable indicates the Sligo native.

“It what was an extremely special night for Irish boxing, almost a watershed moment,” Gunning explains.

The promoter didn’t go into detail electing instead to wax lyrical about the victorious Phelan, but the win does show there is a pathway to titles and big fights outside the major promotional outfits, particularly in the female game.

It also proves you can be rewarded for taking a risk and makes traveling abroad to take those risks less daunting.

Speaking on Phelan, Gunning was full of praise stating that “it was an unbelievable performance from such a young girl under the circumstances which she found herself in.”

“No domestic Irish boxing because of COVID, she had to travel into the backyard of an undefeated fighter, in her own home gym – no-one gave her a chance.”

So impressed was Gunning that one part of the trio behind the Celtic Clash series labelled it ‘one of the most unbelievable performances’ he’s witnessed live.

“From the first bell, she never let Jessica Schadko have a moment’s peace. She silenced the German crowd within the first minute, she landed some vicious and heavy shots. She pummelled Schadko into submission and saw her pulled out at the end of the fifth round. It was one of the most unbelievable performances I’ve seen first-hand.”

The praise doesn’t stop there, Gunning points to the St Brigid’s graduate’s tender age as reason to eulogise further.

“It goes even further than that too because of her age and that she’s only had a couple of fights as a pro. She was unbelievably composed, she was so cool in the lead-up to it, and then she executed the gameplan like a professional that’s been 20 years in the game. A devastating performance, she deserves everything that she’s garnered tonight.”

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