Nell Fox hopes to end Irish heavyweight drought on international scene

Following successive walkover wins in the Intermediate and U22 National Championships, Nell Fox finally got to strut her stuff on the biggest stage on Saturday night.

Despite a lack of opponents at the weight, the Limerick heavyweight stayed focused and kept training throughout 2017 and it would pay off as, in her first Senior fight, she took home the National Elite +81kg title.

The rangey Rathkeale puncher defeated Aglish’s Lisa Browne on a 4-0 decision to become Ireland’s first female heavyweight champ since Diana Campbell and now wants to offer some rare Irish representation at the heavier weights on the international scene

It was a big night for 19-year-old Fox who told afterward that “I was nervous, alright. I was really nervous coming up to it, I can’t explain.”

“But, once I got in there, I just know and you forget all about it.”

“She kept coming inside so it was hard to box her, I kept trying to keep her out, fair play to her. I really enjoyed it. That was my first fight at the Elites because I’m only of the age this year. It was a great experience with all the lights and the cameras – nerve-wracking though!”

There is a land of the giants feel to Rathkeale BC, with the likes of Martin Keenan, Cormac Long, and Cian O’Shaughnessy being part of the set-up.

It’s an environment where Fox has prospered, and she credited her victory to just that.

The youngster outlined how “there’s so many great fighters, and we’ve great coaches, I wouldn’t be here without them.”

“I can’t thank them enough, if I didn’t have them in the corner I don’t know where I’d be.”

“I need them telling me what to do and I try to do what they say!”

Ireland have not been represented by a female heavyweight at a major international tournament since Lianne Murphy won silver at the EU Championships in Hungary in 2013. Fox, who was overlooked for underage international tournaments, feels she can bridge that gap in the upcoming European and World Championships.

She described how “I’m doing it so long, hopefully they bring me this time.”

“There’s been two or three times when I wasn’t brought. Hopefully they bring me, I showed I can box.”

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


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: