By Michael O’Neill
The Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) has named a five strong male and female squad for the prestigious Nicolae Linca Golden Belt Elite Multi-Nations in Romania next week.
There are three female members of the squad, Kellie Harrington, Christina Desmond and Belfast’s Irish Elite (51kg) titleholder Carly Mcnaul who boxes out of the Ormeau Road club in Belfast; they’re joined by current European Elite champion, Joe Ward (Moate) and Smithfield’s Kiril Afansev, a recent newcomer to the Irish international team.
The squad depart for Romania on May 9th in advance of the opening bell a day later..
The Golden Belt multi-nations is named after Nicolae Linca who edged Irish boxing legend, the late great Fred Tiedt in the 1956 Olympic 67kg final in Melbourne, a fight which most in the Melbourne Stadium believed the Irish man had won, only for the judges to differ.
Here on sportswomen.ie we’ve often written about both World Elite medallist (at 64kg) Kellie Harrington and Cork’s own Christina Desmond (75kg). The three Olympic weights will be on the card in Iasi City.
Today we meet the ‘newest’ member of the Irish team, albeit at 27 years she is highly experienced and has boxed not only in Ireland but also in Spain, France and Great Britain.
Last week she was watched by newly appointed High-Performance Director Bernard Dunne who was at ringside for all the action on the opening day of the International Round Robin tournament as she defeated Italy’s Roberta Mosada 3-2.
Neither Sport Ireland through the carding system nor the IABA provide any additional funding so those like Carly Mcnaul – and many others – must fund their own travel and other ‘out of pocket’ expenses when training at the Irish Institute of Sport in Abbotstown or at the National Stadium.
That usually means being away – in Dublin – from her Belfast home several days a week. Carly is a young woman who intends to make the most of her experience in Romania and is aiming at a regular place in the Irish team leading to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and as a member of the Northern Ireland squad at 51kg in next year’s Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.
So what do we know about Carly? She boxes out of the Ormeau Road Club in Belfast and is coached there by Charlie Toland, founder of the Club which also has another Irish champion TJ Waite on its books.
Q: How and when did you become interested in the sport, Carly ?:
A: “A family friend used to be a coach in a club and he asked if I wanted to go one night – I said ‘yes’ and I was taken on pads that night; I was then asked if I boxed before? I told him ‘no’ I just used to fight with my two brothers a lot! He said I was a natural so from that day on I was hooked!”
Q: What tournaments have you won to date?
A: “”I’m the 2017 Irish Elite title holder at 51kg but have also taken many County Antrim and Ulster titles at every level right up to Elite throughout the years. I’ve also won the Gaelic Gloves championship and am hoping to add a few more in the coming years”
Q: Who are you favourite boxers, male or female?
A: Mike Tyson and Vasyl Lomachenko
Q: What are your immediate objectives?
A: “ I’m aiming for the Commonwealth Games next year and then European Women’s championships later that year, leading up to the Tokyo Olympics “
Q: Who do you regard as your main competitors for a place in the teams for the Commonwealths and Olympics?
A: “I am not worried about anyone who enters at my weight, as I have waited too long for this opportunity- for almost 14 years I’ve had ‘set back after set back’ but now I’m finally where I need to be and I am the strongest and fittest I have ever been so am ready to take on anyone who stands between me and Gold medals!”
Q: Like many boxers Pro and Amateur, do you have a boxing nickname?
A: “Yes, I call myself ‘’Wrecking Ball Mcnaul’ … but my new coaches call me ‘the wild’ (LOL!)”
Q: You’ve got a young son, will he be following your progress on the ‘Road to the Gold Coast”?
A : ”My son will be eight by the time I go to the Commonwealth so yes I plan on him being there too.
So a very determined Carly looking forward with confidence to the future and fearing none of her possible opponents for a place in the tournaments mentioned.
That said she does need additional funding to cover all those additional expenses which occur when away from home and preparing to represent your country.
Carly herself did not raise the subject of ‘lack of funding’ but we know from talking to various Irish boxers, coaches and clubs that there is a general feeling that the IABA needs to find private and corporate sponsorships that would help fund expenses for boxers who ‘put their body on the line’ when representing their country.
Carly explains why she is seeking to try and obtain £5000 in funding:
“I have been boxing for 13 years and have been chasing a dream of being Commonwealth and Olympic gold medallist; I am now so close to achieving my dreams as I have recently become the Irish Elite champion at 51kg .In order to fulfil my dream I have had to quit my job as I must attend High Performance training with the Irish Elite boxing team in the Institute of Irish Sport, 4 days a week. I am a single parent who lives in Northern Ireland and have to travel to the south of Ireland every week. Any sponsorship would be very greatly appreciated as I have to balance being a single parent and provide for my son and living -and fuel back and forth from Dublin. I have the right team around me to reach my goal which is Gold in the Commonwealth and Olympic Games Thanks- Very much appreciated.
You can find more about her “Just Giving” crowdfunding appeal here :
Irish Squad for Iasi City:
52kg Carly McNaul (Ormeau Road BC,Belfast)
60kg Kellie Harrington (St Mary’s,Tallaght)
75kg Christina Desmond (Fr Horgan’s, Cork)
81kg Joe Ward (Moate)
91kg Kiril Afansev (Smithfield)
Coaches: Zaur Antia & Jimmy Payne
You can also follow the fortunes of Carly via Facebook and Instagram.
As always here on sportswomen.ie we will bring you all the news of how the Irish team get on in Iasi City throughout next week’s tournament.