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Smokin’ New Lodge fighters aim for US victory

By David Whelan

IN A week where North Belfast is still buoyant from the success of boxing ace Carl Frampton, a group of New Lodge youngsters have taken their own fight to the world stage.

Ten amateur boxers from the Holy Family Boxing Club this week travelled to America to take on some of the country’s best young talent.

In Philadelphia and Wildwood the team, which includes Commonwealth silver medalist Michaela Walsh, will go toe-to-toe with a selection of Joe Frazier’s All-stars.

Handpicked by the heavyweight champion up until his death in 2011, the team has invited Holy Family to the tournament for the past 34 years.

Gerry Storey, a close friend of ‘Smokin Joe’ and head coach of the New Lodge club, said that the tournament is one young boxers look forward to every year.

“I think in the last 34 years we’ve one maybe about 30 of the tournaments,” he said.

“This year they requested that Michaela be part of the team after her success at the Games, it’s the best of us against the best of them.”

Holy Family is the north’s most successful boxing club and boasts an impressive record of 112 Irish senior champions, countless Ulster champions and seven Olympians.

Twenty one year old Walsh made history by becoming the first female boxer to represent the north at the Commonwealth Games and followed that up by becoming the first Irish female to win a medal in the sport.

“Unfortunately Joe is no longer with us to see our current crop of boxers but in the past he always had time to come watch the fights and join us for dinner,” added Gerry.

“His legacy is being carried on through the All-star academy by his son Marvis and we’re delighted to be invited back and looking forward to showing them a bit of what we do best, winning.”


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