Rock Star – Kaci Changes Goals Ahead of European Debut

No sparring shot could wipe the smile off Kaci Rock’s face after she was selected to represent Ireland at the European Under-22 Championships.

Unlike her Enniskerry clubmate Daina Moorehouse, the reigning National Elite and Under-22 Irish welterweight champion has yet to represent Ireland on the major international stage and is ecstatic she gets to rectify that in Croatia very soon.

The daughter of four-weight Irish professional champion Jim Rock reveals continental competition has been a goal for a long time, so when she got the news she would finally get to wear the Irish singlet she couldn’t contain her happiness.

“I was absolutely over the moon when I was selected for the Europeans. When I was sitting in front of the coaches and they told me I was going to be a part of the team I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face,” Rock tells Irish-boxing.com.

“I’ve been working hard and it’s great to see it finally paying off. It’s been a goal of mine for years to make it to the Europeans, and this year I worked extra hard with my coach Paul O’Toole to try new things and it all came together.”

Now having achieved her Euro dream, the Greystones 66kger has redesigned her goal chart and set her sights on winning gold in a tournament packed with some of the World’s best young talents.

“I am so excited to compete,” she continues. “This will be my first time competing for Ireland internationally. I’m looking forward to proving myself at international level.

“Obviously Gold is the target , it’s the mindset I’m going over there with. I’m going to give it my all and whatever the outcome will be I’ll know I’ve given it 100% . I’ve left no stone unturned and I feel ready.”

Although there is an age stipulation with regards to entry, these Europeans are not really an underage tournament.

Just as the Wicklow woman is the best at the weight in Ireland regardless of age, so too will many of her competitors – and with that in mind, Poreč can be used as an early Olympic gauge.

Victory at this level can help plot a Paris course but going into her first ever international tournament, Rock doesn’t want to think along those lines.

“I’m hoping to do well at this competition – I want to take things one step at a time and focus on the competition in front of me before I think of competitions in the future.”

“Of course, Paris 2024 is a goal, especially with talks of my weight being added as a new Olympic weight it opens a lot of doors for me – but I’ll need to prove myself as an U22 international boxer first,” she adds before revealing there is a strong team spirit among the group.

“I’m super excited to be heading out alongside a really strong team. We’ve bonded so well already and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone do what they do best.”

Discussing preparation she notes how : “the preparation has been great my club coaches have been great they dedicate so much of their time to make sure we are getting the best of training – I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.”

“Training with the High Performance is such an honour it’s just a great atmosphere everyday where you see so many talented boxers with the same goals. The coaches are great they’re so knowledgeable and their advice goes a long way.”

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com