By Tom Degun

katie taylor gold medalApril 12 - Boxing clubs across Ireland are to receive a €1 million (£852,000/$1.3 million) funding boost from the Government, with the money set to be used primarily to upgrade training facilities and encourage more women and young people to take up the sport.

The announcement was made by Ireland's Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring following a huge surge in popularity in boxing following the London 2012 Olympics.

Boxing proved by far Ireland's most successful sport at London 2012 with female lightweight Katie Taylor stealing the show as the 27-year-old four-time world champion from Bray took gold at ExCeL as women's boxing made its debut at the Olympic Games.

In the men's competition, there was a silver medal t bantamweight for John Joe Nevin while flyweight Michael Conlan and light flyweight Paddy Barnes both won bronze.

Ireland's only other medal at the London 2012 Olympics came from equestrian rider Cian O'Connor, who took a bronze.

Taylor's victory in particular has seen a huge number of women in Ireland look to take up the sport but many boxing clubs in the country do not have the facilities to take on such extra numbers.

The €1 million (£852,000/$1.3 million) boost is designed to create more participation opportunities while it builds on the previous 2011 boxing allocation.

The funding will be administered by the Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA).

"This further allocation recognises that many boxing clubs continue to operate in facilities which are in poor condition and lack basic facilities," said Ring.

"It's another important step in helping to ensure that young people who join boxing clubs can train in decent, fit-for-purpose facilities.

"Eligible clubs will be able to make improvements to facilities like dressing rooms, showers, toilets and heating.

"There will be a particular focus on providing facilities for women boxers.

"Under the 2011 initiative more than 50 clubs received funding from an allocation of €1.25 million (£1 million/$1.61 million) from my Department through the IABA with a maximum grant of €25,000 (£21,000/32,000) per club.

"This funding is in recognition of the excellent work carried out by the Irish Amateur Boxing Association."
John Joe NevinJohn Joe Nevin took silver at the London 2012 Olympics to help the Irish boxing team claim an impressive four medals from the Games

IABA chief executive Don Stewart has welcomed the funding announcement.

"We're delighted that this allocation has been announced by Minister Ring," he said.

"Our athletes consistently do Irish boxing proud in international and domestic competition and our clubs play an enormous role in that success.

"Any funding that will help our clubs provide better facilities for our boxers is most welcome and is a boost for our sport."

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