On October 17th Ireland gained its newest boxing champion. Aged just 20, Katelynn Phelan is the youngest professional female boxer in the country and now proudly holds the WBC Youth world title.
This is added to her WBF and WIBA world titles, after victory over Germany's Jessica Schadko in the Welterweight division last week.
Fighting out of Unit 3 Health and Fitness in Naas, she took a unique approach to what was just her fourth professional bout.
She told OTB AM yesterday that by removing all footage and content of her off the internet, she created an information blackout for the German.
"We knew they were underestimating me for this fight, all they saw was a 3-0 record for professional and that was it".
The amateur ranks allowed Katelynn to truly hone her skills, providing an even more impressive track record than might appear to her opponent.
Although this was an unorthodox approach to the normally showy build-ups seen in modern boxing, it all paid off.
"I knew from the first punch I had it" says Phelan, and have it she most certainly did.
This under-the-radar approach seems quite fitting for the journey the young Kildare boxer has been on. "I was always a shy kid growing up, I always kept to myself", she says, but the one thing that brought her out of her shell was boxing.
This didn't sit well with her peers though. "As soon as I started to succeed in the sport... people didn't like that".
"I've always had people picking on me and bullying me in school - the gym has always been my safe place" 🥊@katelynnphelan1 hasn't always had it easy on her journey to being a World Champion | #OTBAM @GilletteUK | #MadeOfWhatMatters
Full Video ➡️ https://t.co/jFSjy3YJDp pic.twitter.com/Jpy3fh4QBv
— Off The Ball (@offtheball) October 28, 2020
Soon they turned against her, and it almost made her turn against the thing she loved most too. "By the end of it I didn't have a love for anything, I just didn't want to do anything... And I started to actually dislike boxing as well, so that's when I decided I'm gonna turn professional."
And now looking back as a triple world title holder, she says she wouldn't change a thing.
"If you just think back on what people say to you, that does give you that little bit of a bite to actually achieve something that you really want. I'm glad things did work out how they did... I have that passion and that fire back."
While Katelynn Phelan's cloak of anonymity in the professional world is now well and truly lifted, she is excited about her next bout; a defence of her newly claimed titles against the German.
The talented pugilist says she is most definitely looking forward to employing new ways of besting her future opponents.
"It's like a game of chess, you need to make a move without them knowing".
Written by Catherine Murphy