Referee: Gender shouldn’t be issue

The country’s first woman boxing referee said she hopes Katie Taylor’s Olympic gold medal win will encourage some of Ireland’s “experienced” boxing coaches to help more girls join the sport.

Sadie Duffy has been refereeing some of the country’s biggest boxing names since she qualified in 1997.

Ms Duffy, from Buncrana in Co Donegal, became good friends with the Bray golden girl after refereeing a number of her bouts. She said while boxing in Ireland has changed, more needs to be done to get girls into the ring.

“Women’s boxing has come on so much in Ireland and that is down so much to Katie Taylor. But it still needs plenty of encouragement. It has always been a man’s sport but that is changing. I just hope now that with Katie’s magnificent win some of Ireland’s more ‘experienced’ coaches can finally see what women’s boxing has to offer.

“Gender should never be an issue. It should only be seen as two athletes in the ring,” she said.

“If anyone deserved to fulfil their dream then it’s Katie,” she added.

“She is the nicest and most modest girl you could meet. Nobody will ever realise what she has done for sport in Ireland.”

Ms Duffy, a member of the Illies Golden Gloves Club, has travelled the world refereeing and managing boxers. Her husband Eddie used to box and Ms Duffy decided she had better get involved if she wanted to see more of her then boyfriend. “Instead of taking a back seat, I decided I would like to get involved. I did a six-week course with the Derry County Board and continued from there,” she said.

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