Deirdre Gogarty, the first Irish woman to win a boxing world title, faced numerous hurdles on her path to glory. Women’s boxing was illegal in Ireland, and Gogarty was not allowed to play after her first professional match at home in 1991. However, she became a world champion in the United States in 1997. Despite not receiving her promised prize money, Gogarty was mostly ignored by the media in her home country. The Irish Times even ran articles against women’s boxing, a sport that was considered taboo and unacceptable.
Gogarty’s passion for boxing started at a young age, and when she moved to Dublin to work with coach Pat McCormack, she kept it hidden due to her mother’s disapproval. However, 10-year-old Katie Taylor caught Gogarty’s attention, and Taylor’s determination to succeed in a sport that was not even an Olympic event inspired Gogarty to support her. Taylor went on to become one of the first women to compete in the Olympics, winning gold at the 2012 London Games.
Gogarty faced numerous setbacks in her boxing career, including ongoing lack of recognition despite her achievements. A fundraiser aims to build a statue in her honor in Drogheda, but Gogarty feels that she came too early to fully open the doors for women in boxing. Despite this, she takes pride in seeing the current state of women’s boxing and the opportunities that have opened up for female boxers.