By Kieran Murphy
TULLOW Amateur Boxing Club is set for a battle with the ruling body of the sport – the Irish Amateur Boxing Association – after one of their boxers was denied an opportunity to fight for a national title on Friday in the National Stadium.
Twelve-year-old Chloe Black from Bagenalstown had qualified for the ’45kg Girls 2′ national final after a series of fine performances in recent weeks. Having weighed in on Friday morning she took part in the parade, but before her fight was due to take place she was informed, through her coaches, she wouldn’t be allowed to meet Shauna Riordan of the Sliabh Luachra Castleisland club in the decider.
Citing a rule which all boxing clubs were informed of on Thursday, Chloe was told she could not fight because she also competes in another contact sport, in this case muaythai.
As a member of the Bagenalstown-based Carlow Muaythai Club, Chloe is a multiple national champion and has represented Ireland on the international stage on numerous occasions.
Levina Loftus of Tullow Boxing Club said the IABA sent a reminder about the ban to all county boards the day before the final.
“We are volunteer coaches. We have lives outside boxing. This notification was sent out by email and was also on the IABA website but we knew nothing about this,” said Levina.
Unaware there was a problem, Chloe, family members and her coaches departed for Dublin.
“[After the parade] the coaches of Tullow boxing club were asked to approach the top table. Anthony Abbey and myself were told about this rule and we were told Chloe Black was a muaythai fighter,” said Loftus.
“We said yes, we have never made this a secret. We also said we knew nothing about this rule that Chloe couldn’t fight.”
The Tullow representatives made their case and after much consultation it was agreed Chloe could indeed fight. They returned to the dressing rooms to prepare.
“We were thrilled. Absolutely thrilled. It was such a roller coaster. We had been so low. Everything was brilliant. We went back to her parents and told them everything was great and Chloe could fight.
“We were just going to get her warmed up when we were called back to the table again,” said the Tullow coach.
“Back we went. We were brought upstairs by three head members of the IABA and told under no circumstances could Chloe fight as they had to follow through on this rule because of a complaint.
“I specifically asked about other boxers fighting in other contact sports who were boxing at the finals. They said that was OK because there are no complaints made against them.”
There was no second chance. On the website, Shauna Riordan, her opponent, is listed as having received a walk-over. Loftus says this is incorrect and has written to the IABA requesting it be changed.
“We are completely devastated. Absolutely heart-broken,” Loftus said.
“The only thing I can say is we are not letting this go. We are taking this further for every boxer in the country to destroy this rule,” she promised.
The IABA could not be reached at the time of going to press