Friday 24 November 2017

Katie 'still mad' to go pro - McMahon

Christina McMahon. Photo: David Maher / Sportsfile
Christina McMahon. Photo: David Maher / Sportsfile

Barry Lennon

Super-flyweight Christina McMahon said Katie Taylor would've been "crazy" to enter women's professional boxing last year. And after her Olympic woe? "Still mad."

The Monaghan woman, who beat Taylor's opponent Karina Kopinska in 2013, knows the fight game's harsh reality as one of Ireland's first licensed female pros.

"I feel her (Taylor's) pain. I think it is a natural progression for her coming off three losses," she says before highlighting the benefits of the IABA's high performance unit. "As an amateur, your training is paid for and you're looked after. And at one stage I was making no money in the pro game. I would stand by that (comment), absolutely mad."

McMahon suffered a familiar blow last week when her December world title fight was cancelled after opponent Linda Laura Lecca withdrew.

Officials may not have to be paid now but McMahon, who has no sponsor, has already spent money on training camps, travelling and must refund tickets she sold.

"People don't realise that in the pro game. When you think pro, you think money." she says.

Her husband and coach Martin 'Frick' McMahon tried to rearrange another opponent before Christina could find out about Lecca's withdrawal but it was in vain. He accidentally sent her a text detailing the vacant post.

"I didn't sack him over the fight not happening. I think I'll stick with him. I stuck with him this long," she jokes. "But at that stage what can you do? I've been here five times before. I've been let down in the game an awful lot."

McMahon hoped to cap off a woeful year with the WBA fight after discovering she was suspended from the WBC in a Facebook message.

The WBC world interim champion had received the ban while appealing her unanimous defeat to Zulina Munoz in Mexico earlier this year and has since transferred to the WBA. She admits she was naive at the beginning of her professional career, originally competing as an amateur boxer to improve her kick boxing.

"I always wanted to do kick boxing, my brothers did it years ago and I used to go watch them. I just didn't have the confidence to do it when I was younger," she says. "Women just weren't doing it at the time so it took me until I was 20. I just wanted to kick ass."

The former kick boxing star, who claimed 25 Irish titles, has found professional boxing less fruitful, keeping up a day job as a personal instructor in Carrickmacross to plug the financial gap.

Despite her cautionary tale, Taylor's debut in the sport tonight offers the 42-year-old hope. "Her team never mentioned me but the media have picked up on the fact there is somebody else there. Thanks to the media people are starting to learn the hardship of the game and the reality behind," she says. "I'm having people from all over Ireland contact me at the moment, people wishing me luck. I feel I can't give up."

Irish Independent

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