By Michael O’Neill
In boxing circles, as in life in general, ‘great ideas’ do not always reach fruition. . All parties may believe that they are ‘close to agreement’ but yet minor hiccups, some might say ‘misunderstandings’ occur and that ‘great idea’ is shelved,
without everyone REALLY understanding the reason why an agreement has not ‘come to pass’.
So why has Katie Taylor’s appearance on the undercard of the Andy Lee vs Billy Joe Saunders been called off? There is a general agreement that it is something that would benefit ALL of the parties and much good work was done ‘behind the scenes’ to ensure that it did happen. Let me explain.
Today the International Boxing Association (AIBA) issued a statement – unusually sent only to Irish National Broadcaster, RTE Sport ‘insisting that the proposed bout had been given a green light from their end and that it would have been “further proof of the growing importance of women’s boxing”. And indeed WE do agree with those sentiments. So apparently do the other parties. Katie herself had been delighted to have had the invitation in the first instance and Adam Booth, Lee’s trainer has, like Andy himself been very happy too. The bout like the Lee v Saunders fight itself was due to be shown on UK TV via Box Nation and thus would also have been available to Irish subscribers.
We are given to understand that it may even have been offered to North American PPV companies and possibly even Live Streaming was under consideration. The bout itself was fixed for Limerick’s Thomond Park, home of Munster Rugby for 19th September so again plenty of advance notice, great opportunities to sell even more tickets with the Olympic Gold medallist taking part in a bout where her Governing body (AIBA) would provide the Referee and Judges and where in accordance with
Standard AIBA rules the bout would be fought over 4 x 2 minutes round.
In other words, simply a ‘win-win’ situation. Katie herself issued this via her Twitter feed : ‘’ “Huge heartfelt thanks to @boxingbooth and @AndyLeeBoxing for their support and eagerness to get me on the show.
“Unfortunately it wasn’t to be. I wish Andy the very best on the night, a truly great ambassador for our nation.” – we all agree with Katie’s sentiments there.
Lee’s trainer Adam Booth in confirming the bout was off had this to say : ‘ “We believe we did everything we could to make this event happen but unfortunately on this occasion, the outcome was not to be.”
So let’s look again at the AIBA statement : ‘’ “We had been working to finalise and agree terms with Adam Booth in order to ensure that the bout could go ahead. These discussions went normally and a green light from AIBA was given on Monday 3 August.
“AIBA’s work and efforts to accommodate the request and to utilise the event to promote both Katie and other Irish boxers is indisputable. We are extremely disappointed that despite our best efforts this bout is not proceeding since it was further proof of the growing importance of women’s boxing.”
What would the exhibition bout done and who for?
a): Taylor does not need to prove anything to anyone ! Fact! She has won 19 major international titles including 5 AIBA World titles in a row and is currently the World and Olympic champion as well as being the inaugural European Games 60kg champion from Baku in June, and is also the European titleholder and that of the European Union. Ironically about the only title she does NOT hold is the Irish Elite champion since her opponent Alanna Murphy has to withdraw due a family bereavement in 2014 and Katie herself withdrew from the 2015 championships due to the injury she sustained in the 2014 AIBA world championships in Jeju.
b): The Irish boxing public rarely has had an opportunity to see their heroine fight on a bill as important as this one and some 33,000 plus would have packed Thomond Park for the Lee v Saunders and Taylor bouts.
c): Hundreds of thousands maybe even millions would have watched worldwide via TV and Live streaming thus allowing fans in many countries to see not just the Lee v Saunders fight but watch AIBA Ambassador Taylor demonstrate her own skills and those of women boxers throughout the AIBA empire.
d: AIBA would have been a major winner also and applauded worldwide for having authorized Taylor (and other Irish ‘amateurs’) to take part in what was a – and remains – a much looked forward to fight.
So why is the bout currently OFF ? Why indeed?
The writer – and this site – knows that ALL the parties concerned are people of ‘goodwill’ and genuinely want greater exposure for women in boxing so today we issue a please to each and all of those involved, whether directly
After the weekend pick up the phone and talk to each other – see what it takes to get that bout added again to the Lee/Saunders undercard? Remember the old slogan ‘’It’s good to talk’’
The promoters will benefit.
Irish indeed worldwide boxing fans will benefit.
The AIBA will benefit.
Women’s boxing will get the credit it deserves.
Andy Lee will be happy
Katie Taylor and Team Taylor will be happy.
It is a ‘win-win’ situation.
Over to you – YOU can make it happen and make everyone happy!
Is it not happiness that makes the world go round?
Good Luck !