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Northern Ireland boxing's facing biggest change in a century

Exclusive: World body to back NI authority, says coach

By David Kelly

Boxing in Northern Ireland is on course for the biggest shake-up in 100 years. Up to now the sport has been organised on an all-Ireland basis but the Northern Ireland Boxing Association claim they are on the cusp of being recognised by the world governing body, AIBA, as the authority for the sport within the six counties.

Consequently, the NIBA would have the right to send boxers to represent Northern Ireland at every major championship, while any athlete affiliated to the relatively new body would come under the banner of Team GB&NI for the Olympic Games.

Up to this point, the Irish Athletic Boxing Association has ruled boxing here through the Ulster Council and elite senior boxers represented Ireland on the international stage outside of the Commonwealth Games when they donned the NI vest.

The NIBA have been battling for recognition from SportNI over the past three years but to no avail, despite the backing of former Sports Minister Paul Givan and the assembly. But now it would appear that with the support of AIBA they will become a real force.

NIBA secretary Terry McCorran commented: "We've had very positive feedback from the world body. It's not a case of if we get affiliated to the World body, AIBA, but when we get affiliated.

"We know that the matter has been discussed at the highest level but the world body have internal issues they have to deal with at the moment."

McCorran believes the NIBA will offer young boxers in Northern Ireland more opportunities than have ever been afforded to previous generations.

"We have kids who can run around in Northern Ireland tops and dream about playing for Northern Ireland and we want the same for our young boxers. We want to see them standing at the World and European championships in a Northern Ireland strip," he added. "This is about equality. If a young lad wants to box for Ireland that's not a problem but lads need the chance to represent Northern Ireland."

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