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SMILES BETTER – Manager believes happiness is the key for returning Katelynn Phelan

Ian Gaughran is confident Katelynn Phelan can be a serious success as she makes a return to boxing, particularly if she avoids the serious side of the sport.

The former World Youth Champion returns from a sabbatical happy and content after finding her passion for boxing again – and her new manager is keen to ensure the ‘Smiling Assassin’ continues to smile.

Gaughran, who also mentors the likes of Graham McCormack, Jamie Morrissey, Dave Ryan and Ruadhan Farrell, believes enjoyment is the fuel to charge a successful comeback.

With that in mind, he doesn’t want to make the return of Phelan, a boxer who has both the talent and the ranking to make big moves quickly, all about business.

Team Phelan are taking a ‘happy fighter is a good fighter’ approach.

“What I’m most happy about is that she’s back in love with the sport and is really enjoying training and being back around the gym,” Gaughran told Irish-boxing.com.

“That was huge when we spoke, that the fire was back burning. She knows how good she is and how good she can be but it was and is crucial that she’s enjoying it.”

The Kildare native shot up the rankings when she came back from Germany with the World Youth title in her suitcase back in 2020 – and despite only fighting once since remains just one place outside the top 10 with the WBC.

It means she comes back well-positioned to make a high-end assault, although Gaughran is preaching patience.

“We’ll have a couple of fights before we look at stepping back into big fights,” he adds before throwing in a cheeky target or two.

“Obviously becoming the first-ever women’s Irish champion would be an obvious target we will look at and, as she is ranked number 11 in the WBC rankings, there are going to be big opportunities for her.

“That said, we’re in no rush yet – she’s been out for a long time and had a pretty complicated surgery on her elbow that was initially supposed to be a routine procedure. So it’ll be a nice build for the few months after her first fight and we’ll take it fight by fight.”

Phelan didn’t just confirm Gaughran as her manager, she also revealed a link-up with trainer Daniel Anderson.

“She’s teamed up with Dan Anderson in Belfast and will be training alongside pros Connor Kerr and Owen O’Neill, as well as some very talented amateurs and I’ve no doubt she’ll flourish with Dan,” comments her manager.

On a personal note, Gaughran is extremely happy to add such a talent to his roster and excited about the journey ahead.

“I’m absolutely delighted to be teaming up with Katelynn – she’s an incredible talent and most importantly, we get on great.
I met with her and her partner Shane and we had a great conversation about her career, her potential and life in general.

“We’ve all seen how good Katelynn is and at just 23 years old she has the world at her feet – she’s an absolutely incredible addition to the stable and I’m thrilled to be working with her. To be chosen to work with Katelynn is something I’m very honoured about and proud of. Regardless, we’re working great together so far and I really am so excited with where this can go.”


Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years