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Target Kelly Harrington recognises need to keep improving following World gold

Kelly Harrington is aware she has a massive target on her back and suggests she will have to work harder to retain her status as world #1 than she did in attaining it.

The popular inner city Dub claimed World Championship gold and best amateur lightweight on the planet status when she defeated Thailand’s Sudaporn Seesondee in India back in November. 

The victory, following World silver at 64kg, EU silver, and European bronze, has finally earned Harrington the acclaim she deserves and was celebrated across the country.

However, while the fighter herself enjoyed the success, she is adamant she can not rest on her laurels with more big tournaments to come.

The win, just Ireland’s third ever World Championship top podium finish, also means the Northside native goes into the Olympic cycle as the lightweight to beat – and she knows others will raise their game in a bid to try and take her out.

“There’s always someone out there who is going to beat you, always. So you have to be at the top of your game all the time and try to be the number one,” the Dubliner said on the latest episode of Ireland Unfiltered.

“You have to realise that you can’t sit back, thinking that because you’re number one now that you can take a little step back and chill out for a little while because I’m the best in the world.”

“You’re a target now. I’m a target now! People want to beat me and people are going to be watching videos of me figuring out how to beat me and what tactics they can use to beat me.”

With other fighters gunning for her both at home and abroad, Harrington doesn’t think staying top of the pile comes down to something a simple as extra effort and suggests she may have to explore other avenues than gym toil to improve.

“I’m going to have to do something to get better and it’s something I’ve been thinking about because what do I do now? How do I train harder than what I’ve already been doing?”

While her entry is not confirmed, 28-year-old Harrington will likely be back in the ring next month looking to defend her Irish title, with the rapidly-improving Amy Broadhurst having dropped back down to lightweight and expected to challenge.

A major year internationally, the European Games, European Championships, and World Championships are all on the agenda.


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Jonny Stapleton contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 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: