AIBA gold medallist Kellie Harrington has not ruled out a move to the professional boxing ranks following the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.
Harrington must still qualify for next Summer’s games despite her gold medal at the AIBA World Championships in November but outlined that in the future, turning professional is something she is considering, providing, of course, the offer is right.
“I didn’t think of it before but now I do think of it. It could be a possibility, going professional if I was offered the right type of contract. I wouldn’t want to be going professional for four years and not like it.“If someone says to me, ‘Here’s a two-year contract, Kellie. We’re going to have so many fights and so much money.’ I’d say, ‘Yes. Wham, bam, thank you, mam. Sign over.’ If I knew it’s going to go good… If I know it’s going to cost me more grief than it’s worth, then I’m going to say, ‘No. I’m out of here.’ I’ll keep working in Vincent’s and I’ll keep doing what I’m doing.”
Tokyo 2020 though is very much first up on the agenda for Harrington who knows that qualification is not a guarantee despite her success.
The 29-year old outlined that there is an added expectation on her shoulders given her gold medal at the World’s in November and explained that it’s difficult for people to grasp the idea that, even for her, qualification is still required.
“People automatically think that you’re going to go out and qualify because you’re a world champion but that’s not the way it works,” said Harrington speaking at the launch Olympic Ireland’s Dare To Believe Campaign.
“You have to keep training hard and keep doing what you’re doing and add on a few more tricks to the magic bag and try and improve somehow.
“Nothing is ever going to be handed to you so you have to work for it. People are always going to expect that you’re going to win it. I know that, I’m very much clued-in on that.
“I’d bump into people on the street and they’d be saying to me ‘so you’re going to the Olympics’ and I’m like no I have to qualify and they’re like ‘what?’ and I’m like ‘yeah I have to qualify, there are qualifiers next year’ and they’re like ‘yeah but you’ll be going’ and you’re like ‘well hopefully.’
“People just expect that but it is what it is. I know I have to work hard.”
The North Inner-City Dublin native has seen a tremendous amount of success in the last couple of years at both European and World level picking up four medals in three years.
Harrington explained, however, that the Olympics was never a dream of hers growing up and that she only realised those aspirations following her increase in success, which ultimately led to an increase in her confidence.
“It’s not a childhood dream of mine to go to the Olympics,” said Harrington.
“I never really believed in myself until a few years ago. People never really took me seriously as a female boxer but as a boxer as well.
“Then when people started to take me seriously I started to believe in myself a bit more and think that I could actually do well at European and world level and people kept talking about the Olympics and I used to brush it off and say ‘yeah well baby steps, crawl before you can walk, look at the short term before the long term.’
“The medal in the world championships in 2016 I got and thought ‘well I was lucky.’ European Union’s I got silver and I was like ‘oh well I was lucky again’ and then I got a medal in the Europeans last year and a gold in the worlds. I don’t know. I’m just a really lucky person I think.”
Irish Lightweight Women’s World Boxing Champion Kellie Harrington, Irish Olympic Rower Claire Lambe and Paralympic Swimmer Nicole Turner teamed up with the Olympic Federation of Ireland to launch Dare to Believe, a school activation programme championed and supported by the Athletes’ Commission. Olympism, Paralympism and the benefits of sport will be promoted in schools nationwide by some of Ireland’s best known and most accomplished athletes in a fun and interactive manner. The initial pilot phase is targeting the fifth and sixth class students in primary schools. Visit for further information on how to get involved #DareToBelieve.