Boxing clubs vow to fight on for new body

Kate Hoey, Nigel Dodds, Billy McKee of MABC, Jim Allister, and (back row) representatives of local amateur boxing clubs, before a meeting at Sport NI
Kate Hoey, Nigel Dodds, Billy McKee of MABC, Jim Allister, and (back row) representatives of local amateur boxing clubs, before a meeting at Sport NI

Supporters in favour of a new governing organisation for amateur boxing in Northern Ireland have vowed to maintain pressure on Sport NI to back their campaign.

At a meeting with Sport NI (SNI) officials on Thursday a delegation, including former UK sports minister Kate Hoey MP, put the case for young boxers in the Province to have the choice to compete under a UK-affiliated body rather than the Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA).

Representatives of clubs interested in breaking away from the IABA, along with senior political figures, presented SNI officials with briefing paper, setting out the case for a new governing body.

Terry McCorran of the City of Belfast Boxing Academy said the proposal would give NI boxers a greater chance of experiencing international competition.

“I don’t see how people can say we’re trying to be divisive. The NI Boxing Association (NIBA) will be for everyone. It will be up to the IABA to say if they are prepared to take boxers from the NIBA who want to represent Ireland.

“So if NIBA boxers decide they want to represent Ireland then that is a channel they can take. What the Northern Ireland Association will give young people here is an international chance that they are not getting at the minute.”

TUV leader Jim Allister said: “We have opened a dialogue and a process where they are going to have to make some decisions. We’ve now got a good number of clubs interested in affiliating to a Northern Ireland federation, so it’s down to Sport NI to show whether or not they are really for sport in Northern Ireland.”