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Moira McElligott: “I’m looking forward to the experience, but more so the chance to prove I can box”

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Every boxing fan knows, or at least should know, the sacrifices that the sport requires.

The Sweet Science is an unglamourous, unforgiving, one – but Moira McElligott takes this to a whole new level.

The Kerry featherweight isn’t complaining however, and is driven to prove her worth at Elite international level next week at the European Championships in Bulgaria.

A latecomer to the sport, 29 year old McElligott has the least experience of the seven woman team, amazingly having had just two international bouts so far.

Fighting out of St Michael’s Athy, McElligott last year became the clubs first Elite Women’s champion, and just the Kingdom’s second ever. This has seen the Asdee woman join the High Performance team. However, the unfunded athlete is required to keep up draining full-time work.

McElligott spoke to and explained how “I probably would have the least amount of bouts in general compared to the other girls. I was late starting boxing, and between juggling a busy work schedule and training I do not get a lot of fights.”

“I work as a locum vet, which means I have some flexibility in my hours to give myself time to train, but that also means that I do not get any benefits that you would in a set hours job. The time I take off is not paid holidays, therefore I sacrifice my salary to train.”

“It’s very tough at times, nights on call, 12 hour shifts followed by training.”

While it is tough for McElligott, the Munster woman is a beacon of positivity and described how “it does take sacrifice to be at the top level, but I’m driven and determined to be better and to compete with all these full-time athletes as best I can.”

McElligott is enjoying her time with the Irish squad and is aiming to further prove that she belongs at the top despite her alternate route into the sport. She acknowledged that “the coaches are putting in great effort and the level of talent on the team is amazing to watch, I just feel so proud to say I’m part of it all.”

“I’m looking forward to the experience, but more so the chance to prove I can box.”

“I have had two international bouts, one at 60kg against France in the National Stadium and 57kg at the Worlds, beaten by split decisions both times. I want the wins now. I’ve worked hard to improve and I hope the decisions will start to go my way.

“The goal is to medal.”

Photo: McElligott with club mate and current 2(1)-0 pro Eric Donovan

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on, Boxing News,, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: