Reigning Irish National Elite bantamweight Champion Sara Haghighat-Joo made history for Sierran Leone last weekend.
The Canidian-born St Brigids fighter, who previously explored Irish Olympic options and now fights for the African country, was crowned African Elite Boxing Championships in Maputo.
Haghighat-Joo, who switched to Sierra Leone in 2020, won gold in the most recent installment of the continental contest, emerging top of the bantamweight field. Her final win over Algerian Fatma Zohra Abdelkader ensured she became the Western African country’s first gold medal winner at that level.
The 28-year-old relocated to Ireland in recent years after marrying a Galway man and, was boxing out of the St Brigid’s club in Edenderry. She is the reigning bantamweight champion of Ireland and had hoped to force herself into the 2020 Olympic frame for Team Ireland but is now representing Sierra Leone, who employed Liam Brereton of Offally as their boxing coach.
The win is also a feather in the cap of Brereton who is just one of a number of Irish coaches having success abroad.
It’s also some form of consolation for the fighter, who was left very frustrated at being denied the chance to fight in the Commonwealth Games after a ‘weigh in mix up’.