A BOXING project involving clubs from Belfast, Dublin and Waterford is aiming to being Irish and Palestinian boxing clubs together to foster the sport in both Ireland and Palestine.

The Shamrock and Olive Tree Boxing Project will have an official launch in December and will feature boxing coaches from Ireland take part in seminars in Palestine in our partner club El Barrio in Ramallah. This will help up skill and teach new training methods to local boxing clubs in and around the Holy Land.

The project will include 3-star AIBA officials from Ireland, and the plan is to refresh training for boxing officials in workshops which will benefit referees and judges on a local level.

This project will look at the sport of boxing overall from grassroots to elite level and help put a plan in place to actively encourage the sport to grow from local level and onto the international stage.

This wonderful project will also give young boxers from Ireland the opportunity to experience a different culture and learn that what can divide can also unite, with Belfast clubs already having experience of this through the sport of boxing.

To help this project to be a success, already there has been a committee set-up here in Ireland and Ramallah.

Ralph McKay from St Paul’s ABC is one of the organisers and he explained that they plan to use the experience of boxing clubs continuing to work side-by-side throughout some dark day in The North and help bring that to the Holy Land where they hope they can assist in developing young boxers.

“We want this be to be non-political and just about boxing to unite people,” he said.

“Here in the North, the clubs in different parts of the city always kept going together throughout The Troubles and that’s what we are hoping to implement over in the Holy Land in Ramallah.

“We have a guy over there who is heavily involved in boxing and we are just trying to help them get their heads above water and onto the international stage.

“If we can help them in any way we’ll do that. But we also want to set-up workshops over there to not try to upskill them, but show them our coaching methods and even with the judging side of it so we are bringing judges and referees so we can host seminars and workshops on that also.

“We are keeping the politics out of this and just want to help kids. It’s beneficial for us to do something like this as we went through years of conflict and maybe some day a young Palestinian man gets to the World Championships.”

The committee plan to take a team of boxers and officials over to Ramallah in August 2022, and a return visit to Ireland for the Palestinian boxers in Belfast and Waterford August 2023, possibly during Féile an Phobail.

Preparations have begun in earnest here in Ireland and the Holy Land, and the organisers will be seeking support from Belfast, Dublin and Waterford. The committee also plan to meet the IABA, MLAs, TDs and Sports Minsters to seek assistance.

Shortly, they will begin rolling out a social media presence on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with a gofundme page to help with the expenses of such a trip.