Boxing gave me discipline after I left school at 14, reveals Irish Olympic gold medal hero Kellie Harrington

KELLIE HARRINGTON has opened up on how boxing helped her after she left school as a youngster.

Ireland’s Tokyo Olympic gold medal hero left school when she was just 14, and revealed that boxing prevented her from going down the wrong path.


Kellie Harrington revealed boxing gave her discipline after leaving schoolCredit: Info
Kellie Harrington won a gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games last summer.


Kellie Harrington won a gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games last summer.Credit: Sportsfile – Subscription

Speaking on RTE Radio’s ‘Sunday with Miriam’, Harrington revealed: “It was boxing that gave me discipline, basically.

“When I got into a boxing club, I didn’t want to let any of the coaches down by going off an doing anything bold outside of boxing.

“I didn’t get into a boxing club to become any kind of champion, really.

“I got into a club because I knew I needed to do something different and what I was doing was wrong. I had a bit of cop on to know that.

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“I had had enough of school, and school had had enough of me, basically.”

The 32-year-old revealed that it was in and around the same time that she left school, that she got into boxing.

The Portland Row-native put this down to its access in her local area and its positive impact on the local society.

She even went so far as to insist that boxing does not get the credit it deserves for its influence on those who put on a pair of gloves.

She said: “I think I was about 14/15 when I decided that was the way to go.

“There are boxing clubs on every corner in the inner city. I am always saying that. I am like a broken record, but there genuinely is.

“You don’t see yacht clubs and hockey clubs and equestrians or anything like that. It is all boxing, and I just wanted to get into sport and that was the main sport that was around.

“They give you a helping hand, really.

“I think, out of all the sports out there, coming from an area that I come from, the background I come from, boxing – I feel – has helped more people like me to achieve a life.

“It doesn’t get the credit that it deserves, for all the unpaid volunteers in boxing clubs.”


Irish amateur boxing has recently enjoyed the highest of highs and has been hit with the lowest of lows.

On the one side, in addition to Kellie Harrington’s Olympic heroics last summer, Lisa O’Rourke and Amy Broadhurst both won gold medals at the World Boxing Championships in Turkey.

Meanwhile, Gabriel Dossen won middleweight gold at the Europeans and Dylan Eagleson won silver at bantamweight.

On the flip side, the IABA were rocked by the resignation of Bernard Dunne from his position as High Performance Director.

His resignation came after a document surfaced criticizing his role circulated before the last summers’ Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Minister for Sport Jack Chambers implied that the government may pull funding from boxing unless there is total reform within the IABA.

Former Irish high performance boxing director Billy Walsh also recently called for radical reform and a clear out of the current IABA board.


Walsh’s demands were echoed by Harrington.

She told SunSort: “I don’t really have that much of a clue. I try not to get involved in all that – sure come here – it’s been going on for years. It’s basically the same sh**, different day.

“I do think it needs to be sorted out, once and for all but what I do feel is Bernard Dunne’s position – it’s such a pity now that Bernard is gone because he was absolutely FAN-tastic.

“He is needed there or somebody is needed in that position so the coaches can actually do their job, and coach the boxers.

“There’s three staff – so Bernard and there was two other staff members on the high performance – they’ve gone. So, it’s just the coaches there. We need someone to be put into that role ASAP.”

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