Friday 22 September 2017

Boxing: Katie's decision to stay amateur may net her more cash

Grainne Cunningham and Mark O'Regan

OLYMPIC champion Katie Taylor has turned down lucrative professional contracts and decided to remain an amateur boxer.

The 26-year-old fighter, from Bray, Co Wicklow, has said she plans to defend her lightweight title in Rio de Janeiro in four years' time.

Katie revealed she had turned down six-figure contract offers to keep boxing for her country and that money was not a motivation for her.

"I have been offered a few contracts, hundreds of thousands. For me, just boxing for my country, there is nothing better than that really, and bringing home medals for my country," she said.

Sports sponsorship experts have suggested that Katie may make more money by remaining an amateur in Ireland, where she is a household name, rather than joining the professional ranks in America.

Yesterday provided a perfect example of her earning power. As Katie was being wheeled out for pictures as Sky Ireland's digital switchover ambassador during a high-profile launch in Dublin, another job landed in her lap.

It emerged that Katie looks set to be offered the ambassadorial role with the International Boxing Association to promote women's boxing worldwide, which carries with it a pay packet of about €10,000, with expenses on top.

It is understood that a four-year funding agreement with the Sports Council and the Irish Amateur Boxing Association was a key element in finalising her decision.

Elite

Over the past seven years, the boxer has earned an annual "elite athlete" income from the Sports Council of about €40,000.

As well as being a Sky ambassador for the digital switchover and fronting the Proctor & Gamble 'Be proud of mums' campaign with her mother Bridget, she is involved in other deals with Adidas, Toyota, Spar and Lucozade Sport.

Sports sponsorship expert Liam Gaskin, of Concept Partnership, estimated that, with her combined income, "she would be quite comfortable".

He said that, in any case, the lure of the big money in professional boxing might not have come to fruition.

Katie herself alluded to the uncertainty of the professional scene yesterday.

"The thing with professional boxing is you have to make sure that you get the right promoter and the right fights.

"It is a cut-throat business as well and you have to make sure you have the right people around you to get those fights and you're not guaranteed to get the best fights," she said.

She said her family also influenced her decision not to enter the ruthless business of professional boxing.

"It is a completely different world and I think my family were concerned about that as well," she said on Today FM's Ray D'Arcy programme.

Taylor's camp held discussions with promoters including Brian Peters and Golden Boy Promotions, the US stable run by 10-time world champion Oscar De La Hoya.

Dad's relief: Sport

Irish Independent

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