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Sport Ireland announce 2021 funding boost for Irish Boxers

For the third year running, Irish amateur boxing has received an overall funding boost ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Sport Ireland today announced their funding for National Governing Bodies for the forthcoming year, with boxing – through the Irish Athletic Boxing Association – set to receive both increased organisational funding and higher grants for Elite fighters.

The governing body for the sport will receive €1,270,000 in total, with €500,000 being the core grant and a further €770,000 going to the High Performance Unit.

Both these figures remain the same as last year and the IABA is the fourth-most funded governing after body Athletics, Horse Sport, and Swimming.

The increase comes in the individual grants for Elite Irish fighters – improving from €284,000 shared across eleven boxers to €328,000 shared amongst fifteen fighters and no 2020-funded boxer has lost out.

At ‘Podium’ level, equalling €40,000 of funding, there is Kellie Harrington, Kurt Walker, Aoife O’Rourke, and Michaela Walsh.

In the €20,000 ‘World Class’ tier there is Brendan Irvine, Amy Broadhurst, Christina Desmond, Grainne Walsh, and Michael Nevin.

The big changes have come at the €12,000 ‘International’ level where the previously-funded Kieran Molloy and Kirill Afanasev have been joined by Emmet Brennan, George Bates, and Aidan Walsh. Also in the ‘International’ bracket – but receiving €8,000 – is Gabriel Dossen.

The fact that six of the 15 boxers have zero chance of qualifying for this summer’s Olympics could be considered encouraging and evidence of something of a long-term strategy – although a lack of funding given to underage medallists/identified talent and the lack of an increase for Olympian Brendan Irvine is disappointing.

Irish boxers are currently preparing for the ongoing Olympic qualifiers which is due to resume in Paris in June.

Here, Michaela Walsh, Aidan Walsh, Emmet Brennan, George Bates, Aoife O’Rourke, Kellie Harrington, and Michael Nevin will bid to join Brendan Irvine and Kurt Walker on the plane to Tokyo.

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: