'I want Mary Kate's attacker banned from boxing for life after hotel punch', says dad
Published 01/11/2016 | 06:38
A 15-year-old boxer described as Ireland's next Katie Taylor may quit the sport after being punched in the face in a hotel corridor following a prestigious boxing event.
Mary Kate Nevin, a first cousin of Olympic medallist John Joe Nevin, is recovering at her Mullingar home after being assaulted, allegedly by a male Russian boxing coach.
Speaking to the Herald, her anxious father Paddy Nevin said his daughter may not get into the ring again after the shocking incident.
"She's only a child, she's in bed now and while her eye is physically recovering I'm worried that she has been hurt emotionally and mentally," Paddy said yesterday.
"I said to her 'are you going to box again?' and she just said 'I don't know daddy'.
"She's just a young girl but she has incredible potential. I don't know what to do."
Mary Kate had been competing at the Queens Cup in Germany before the incident.
Team manager Bernie Harold said Mary Kate and another competitor had gone to a room at the hotel in Stralsund when the incident happened.
She said they were giggling and laughing and the noise had woken the alleged attacker.
"This man came out of the room and punched her in the eye," said Ms Harold.
Mary Kate was taken to hospital to be examined after being attacked and the matter was reported to German police.
Speaking about the coach who is alleged to have assaulted his daughter, Mr Nevin was forthright in his views.
"I want to see him charged with assault, banned for life from the sport of boxing and exposed worldwide," he said.
"I also want to know how he became a coach and if he was vetted.
"Mary Kate could be the next Katie Taylor. It will be an awful shame if this affects her. She has been told that she has potential for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
She has won 23 Irish titles. She's dedicated and trains six days a week.
"Mary Kate was team captain while away on the tournament, voted the best person in it and won gold," Paddy added.
The worried father said he hoped Mary Kate would step back into the ring again.
"I'd love to see her boxing again. She has a great future.
"I'm heartbroken for her," he said.
Meanwhile, the incident in Germany is to be discussed by Irish boxing officials next week.
"The matter will be raised at a Standing Committee Meeting of the Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) in the coming days," Bernie Harold said.
Ms Harold was away with the boxing group in Germany when the incident happened. She said what took place was an outrage.
"For an adult to do that to a child, especially a gentle little girl, is awful," she said.
"Mary Kate told me she never got a black eye in all her time boxing and then this happens outside of the ring.
"The swelling has gone down now but when it happened she couldn't open her eye. I hope it doesn't affect her because she's a classy little boxer.
"The IABA, the Russian Federation and the world body will be investigating this."
The prosecutor's office in Germany could not be reached for comment. Mary Kate's father said he does not know what to do now.
"We are in Ireland, the thing happened in Germany and the man believed to be involved is probably in Russia. I don't know how this works," Paddy said.
Her cousin John Joe Nevin, who won silver at the London games in 2012, said he couldn't believe the news when he heard it first.
"I was shocked to be honest. It's terrible for anyone to be in an incident like that let alone someone so young," he said.
"I hope she'll get over it. She's a fighter and I think she will. There are big successes ahead for Mary Kate I'm sure."
The Mullingar man said he first saw the news of the incident on Facebook and while he hadn't spoken with Mary Kate he has heard through family that she is recovering from the ordeal.
"I know the coach involved too. I've seen him a few times. I'm shocked about the whole thing," he said.
A total of 15 junior Irish females took part in the Queens Cup in Germany and the team had took a record haul of seven gold, four silver and four bronze medals.
The team arrived home to Dublin on Sunday night and Mary Kate is being comforted by family as she gets over the horrific incident.
"It was an incredibly successful tournament," said Ms Harold. "We went with 15 boxers and we came home with 15 medals. That is unprecedented."