Kieran Molloy is a member of the Oughterard Boxing Club. At fifteen, he has a Bronze Medal from the AIBA World Junior Championships, and recently won the 2014 60Kg Connacht Title. I met Kieran in the lead up to the All Ireland Boxing Championships in Dublin (At the time of publishing, he had secured his spot in the Final).
How did you first get interested in boxing?
When I was younger, I used to watch my brothers box. One day, when I was about six years old, Raymond Lee asked me to join in. I enjoyed doing it, and so I kept it up! That was it.
Do you remember your first fight?
I was training for three years, and had my first exhibition when I was nine. It was in the Oughterard Community Center, against a ten year old from Tuam. They said they saw something in me that day, that I was good, and told me to stick at it. They said I could be Irish Champion!
And so you were hooked after that?
I couldn’t stop.
You’re also a Junior Cert student in St. Paul’s Secondary School. How do you juggle school and boxing?
If there’s boxing coming up, boxing will always come first. But, I still go to school five days a week, unless I’m going to a training camp, or fighting on a school day.
What’s a typical day for you coming up to a competition?
In the mornings I do a three mile jog before school. After school I come home, get something to eat, and then come down to the boxing club around 7pm for a couple of hours. I do pad work, shadow boxing, skipping, and speed work on my feet. I also go to the gym two days a week in the Kingfisher at NUIG, where I work on strength and conditioning.
You won a Bronze medal in the AIBA World Junior Championships. I know that you sustained a leg injury that forced you to bow out in the Semi-Final. That must have been difficult.
Yeah, it was. I got injured about forty seconds into the first round. Going out there I was thinking, “It would be brilliant if I could win a fight out here”, because I was giving away a year in age (Kieran, at fourteen, was one of the youngest athletes competing).
I won my first fight, and I could see that I was in with a chance of getting a medal in the competition. In the second fight, I fought the Korean champion, and he was really tough. I won that unanimously. Then, in the Quarter-Finals, I was fighting for a medal, and from what I could see of the Australian, he was tough, but I knew that I could beat him. I fought well that day and won that unanimously as well. I was fighting a European Silver Medalist in the Semi-Finals, the Moldovan boxer. He had a really good record. After that fight then, when I got injured, he went off to the Europeans two months later, and he won. I think I would have beat him. I was about a point up in the fight. But it was a brilliant experience.
Was there a lot of support from the community?
Yeah. When I got back, there was a big crowd organised at the boxing club, and they had a reception up in the Boat Inn for me. Even when I was out there, I’d go on Facebook, and there were so many notifications and messages. I didn’t have much time to read them because I was focusing on the boxing but the support was brilliant.
What’s next for you?
The All-Irelands are on the fourth of April in Dublin. If I win that, then I’m guaranteed my spot on the Irish team. There’ll probably be a few Internationals coming up too.
And long-term? As a senior boxer?
When I’m nineteen, I’ll go for my first senior title. I want to be Senior Champion by the time I’m twenty. I’ll be fighting lads a lot older, but the way I’m going now, I think it’s possible. My biggest aim would be the Olympics. If I do good there, I’ll definitely turn professional after that.
Any advice for the young boxers out there?
If they just keep training hard, they’ll get their awards from it. But they have to make the sacrifices too.
And finally, who is your inspiration?
Ever since I was younger, I looked up to, and heard about, Thomas and Marvin Lee. They were probably the two best boxers that came out of the Oughterard Boxing club. Marvin had two European Bronze medals, and five Irish titles. Thomas had nine Irish titles. The two of them got into Senior finals. I’ve always looked up to them. Hopefully, some day, I’ll win the Senior title and have a good record as well.
Thanks to Kieran for answering my questions.
You can keep up with the Oughterard Boxing Club’s news and events via their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/oughterard.bc