The Ambassadors. A twin portrait of Katie Taylor and Alanna Audley-Murphy by Irish artist Paul MacCormaic

The Ambassadors. A twin portrait of Katie Taylor and Alanna Audley-Murphy by Irish artist Paul MacCormaic

IRISH women’s boxing has travelled a long way since Bray and Belfast teenagers Katie Taylor and Alanna Audley-Murphy met in the first officially sanctioned Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) women’s bout at Dublin’s National Stadium in 2001.

Both women clashed in the only female contest on a 16-bout card on October 31 of that year.

Dominic O’Rourke, then President of the IABA, described the event as “a momentous day for Irish boxing.”

“The people couldn’t believe it, they hadn’t seen women’s boxing before and they seemed quite impressed, said Audley-Murphy after the historic meeting.

“Since then we remained very good friends and she even mentioned me in the interview straight after winning the gold medal in London.”

Taylor and Audley-Murphy were also the first Irish female boxers to claim medals in European competition in 2005 and 2006. Since that double, 78 medals have been secured at all levels of international competition by Irish women.

Moreover, women’s boxing, courtesy of Taylor, is the only Irish sport to win Olympic gold this century.

At Elite international level, Kellie Harrington won AIBA World silver this year, becoming to only Irish women besides Taylor to occupy a podium at the World Championships and, consequently, becoming the only Irish women besides Taylor to be ranked in the top five in the world by the International Boxing Association (AIBA).

National Women's Championships Dublin

National Women’s Championships National Stadium Dublin

At grass roots level, the Girls 1 to 6 Championships at the National Stadium in 2015 and 2016 featured hundreds of female athletes. May’s Girls 1 to 6 Championships was completed after a marathon 230 bouts.

The Girls 1 to 6 Championships is now one of the biggest tournaments in the IABA domestic calendar.

Some may have been spooked on Halloween weekend in 2001 when Taylor and Audley-Murphy answered an opening bell at the home of Irish boxing.

They met over three one-and-a-half-minute rounds; Taylor, then just 15, winning 23-12 on points under the old computer scoring system.

Donegal’s Sadie Duffy refereed the watershed moment for Irish sport featuring an all female cast.

“It was history in the making. It was a huge stage for the girls. They were only young girls at the time. It was massive,” said Duffy after a three-rounder which marked the first occasion when there were no males, either boxers or bout-officials, inside the ropes at the South Circular Road venue for a contest.

Meantime, Taylor and Ciara Ginty, a World Junior champion and Youth Olympic silver medallist, have also accepted the AIBA Elite and Junior World Women’s Boxer of the Year Awards.

Below is the Irish medal count since the IABA had the foresight to see the future and sanction a women’s bout in Ireland fifteen years ago.

A few weeks after that contest, the International Boxing Association ran the inaugural AIBA World Women’s Elite Championships in the USA.

Irish women’s boxing is proudly sponsored by Quick Park of Dublin Airport.


Medal Count Irish Women’s Boxing 2001/2016


2012: London Katie Taylor (Gold)

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS (5 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze)

2006: New Delhi: Katie Taylor (Gold)
2008: Ningbo City:Katie Taylor (Gold)
2010: Bridgetown: Katie Taylor (Gold)
2012: Qinhuangdao: Katie Taylor (Gold)
2014: Jeju:Katie Taylor (Gold)
2016: Astana: Kelly Harrington (Silver)
2016: Astana:Katie Taylor (Bronze)


2015: Baku: Katie Taylor (Gold)

EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS (6 gold and 1 bronze)

2005: Tonsberg: Katie Taylor (Gold)
2006: Warsaw: Katie Taylor (Gold)
2007: Vejle: Katie Taylor (Gold)
2009: Nikolayev: Katie Taylor (Gold)
2011: Rotterdam: Katie Taylor (Gold)
2014: Bucharest: Katie Taylor (Gold)
2014: Bucharest: Clare Grace (Bronze)

EUROPEAN UNION CHAMPIONSHIPS (5 gold, 1 silver, 5 bronze)

2006: Porto Torres: Alanna Audley-Murphy (Bronze)
2008: Liverpool: Katie Taylor (Gold)
2008: Liverpool: Debbie Rogers (Bronze)
2009: Pazardzhik: Katie Taylor (Gold)
2010: Keszthely: Katie Taylor (Gold)
2011: Katowice: Katie Taylor (Gold)
2011: Katowice: Louise Traynor (Bronze)
2011: Katowice: Lauragh O’Neill (Bronze)
2013: Keszthely: Katie Taylor (Gold)
2013: Keszthely: Lianne Murphy (Silver)
2013: Keszthely: Claire Grace (Bronze)


2014: Nanjing: Ciara Ginty (Silver)

WORLD YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIPS (1 silver, 3 bronze)

2011: Antalya: Katie Rowland (Bronze)
2011: Antalya: Michaela Walsh (Bronze)
2013: Albena: Christina Desmond (Silver)
2015: Taipei: Natasha Logan (Bronze)

WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS (1 gold, 1 silver, 4 bronze)

2011: Antalya:Austeja Accuieta (Bronze)
2013: Albena: Ciara Ginty (Gold)
2013: Albena: Jacqui Lynch (Bronze)
2015: Taipei:Niamh Earley (Silver)
2015: Taipei:Kelsey Leonard (Bronze)
2015: Taipei: Joanne Richards (Bronze)

EUROPEAN YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIPS (1 gold,4 silver, 5 bronze)

2010: Sangatte: Katie Rowland (Silver)
2010: Sangatte: Michaela Walsh (Bronze)
2010: Sangatte: Sarah Close (Bronze)
2010: Sangatte: Claire Grace (Bronze)
2014: Assisi: Kristina O’Hara (Silver)
2014: Assisi: Amy Broadhurst (Silver)
2014: Assisi: Chayanne O’Neill (Silver)
2014: Assisi: Lauren Hogan (Bronze)
2015: Keszthely: Amy Broadhurst (Gold)
2015: Keszthely: Saoirse Dignam (Bronze)

EUROPEAN JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS (1 gold, 5 silver, 12 bronze)

2008: Yambol: Michaela Walsh (Silver)
2008: Yambol:Sarah Close (Bronze)
2010: Sangatte: Christina Gargan (Silver)
2010: Sangatte: Nicole Meli (Bronze)
2012: Wladyslawowo: Amy Broadhurst (Gold)
2012: Wladyslawowo: Sally Carrig (Bronze)
2012: Wladyslawowo: Niamh Folan (Bronze)
2014: Assisi: Shaneen Flynn (Silver)
2014: Assisi:Shauna Blaney (Bronze)
2014: Assisi:Shannon Reilly (Bronze)
2014: Assisi:Aoife Burke (Bronze)
2015: Keszthely:Orla Garvey (Silver)
2015: Keszthely: Shauna O’Callaghan (Silver)
2015: Keszthely: Chloe Callender (Bronze)
2015: Keszthely: Caitlin Fryers (Bronze)
2015: Keszthely: Kelsey Leonard (Bronze)
2015: Keszthely: Katelynn Phelan (Bronze)
2015: Keszthely: Lauren Kelly (Bronze)

EUROPEAN UNION YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIPS (1 gold, 1 silver, 4 bronze)

2013: Keszthely:Kristina O’Hara (Gold)
2013: Keszthely:Niamh Ball (Silver)
2013: Keszthely:Christina Gargan (Bronze)
2013: Keszthely:Christina Desmond (Bronze)
2013: Keszthely: Kathy Higgins (Bronze)
2013: Keszthely: Maeve McCarron (Bronze)

EUROPEAN UNION JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS (3, gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze)

2013: Keszthely:Jacqui Lynch (Gold)
2013: Keszthely: Grainne Gavin (Gold)
2013: Keszthely: Amy Broadhurst (Gold)
2013: Keszthely: Ciara Sheedy (Silver)
2013: Keszthely: Ciara McGinty (Bronze)
2013: Keszthely: Leah Marie Doyle-Roche (Bronze)