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‘That’s the reason boxing in the Republic is dead’ – Calls for BUI to help Irish Boxing

The most prolific promoters outside of Belfast in recent times, Boxing Ireland Promotions, have hit out at the Boxing Union of Ireland [BUI] sanctioning fees.

Boxing Ireland, who many credit for keeping boxing in the south alive, went as far as to suggest the fees charged by the BUI are the main reason shows have dried up.

If you consider 11 shows took place on the island of Ireland in 2019 things appear to be healthy, but only two of those shows took place outside Belfast.

Boxing Ireland, who ran six shows in the Republic between 2017 and 2019, as well as being heavily involved in a further three, elected to take the popular Celtic Clash series up North after insurance prices hiked.

However, speaking online yesterday, they reaffirmed a massive increase insurance was just the straw that broke an already burdened camel’s back.

Boxing Ireland made no bones about it, they feel the sanctioning fees and structure currently in place make it impossible to run a show in the Republic of Ireland.

The promotional outfit run by Leonard Gunning, Stephen Sharpe, and Dennis Morrison claim the sanctioning fees charged by the BUI are 10 times that of those charged by British Boxing Board of Control.

“The BUI want 10 times the sanctioning fee for a show in the Republic as the BBBofC want to put a similar show on in the north. That’s the reason boxing in the Republic is dead. The BUI are not willing to help and just sit in their unelected ivory tower,” they tweeted today.

Meanwhile Sharpe called for changes. Also speaking online he added: “Professional boxing is in critical condition in Southern Ireland and it’s just silly to continue blaming the Regency.”

“While it hasn’t helped, it seems the Regency has become a scapegoat, that allows for zero accountability in how the sport is managed.”

“The fact is that there has been plenty of professional shows since the Recency, but unfortunately the sport is managed in such a way that smaller promoters are smoked out by costs that just can’t be justified. Time for some changes.”

The comments came after Olympic silver medal winner and current Eric Donovan coach Kenneth Egan today called for a shake of the governing body in an interview with the Irish Daily Star.

The former Neilstown BC light heavy noted that the Regency and the current issues around MTK have had a negative effect on boxing in Dublin. However, he feels there could be more leadership and support from the BUI to help give boxers the chance to fight without having to travel overseas or to Belfast.

Egan told Kieran Cunningham that “I paid the Boxing Union of Ireland €200 for my trainers’ licence there in January. I’m sure there’s a load of people like me who’ve paid for their licence.”

“…all that money is going into that BUI pot and we still can’t get our fighters out on to Irish shows south of the border.”

“All these coaches and trainers pay their fees, but there’s nothing happening.”

Here at Irish-boxing.com, we explored in detail the costs of running a show in Belfast compared to Dublin.

That piece did indeed show that, at least at the time of writing, sanctioning fees in the Republic are approximately ten times that of the British Boxing Board of Control [BBBoC]. The figures concerned were a flat BUI fee of €5,000 while those of the BBBoC were based on a progressive sliding scale related to revenue and remained in the hundreds rather than the thousands.

There are plenty of other governing body costs, which were outlined in the aforementioned piece, but the stark comparison remains.

We have reached out to the BUI for comment.

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 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: editoririshboxing@gmail.com