Taylor and Nihell celebrate landmark moment in women’s boxing

On 31 October 2001 Katie Taylor and Alanna Nihell fought the first commissioned female fight in Ireland.

November 4th, 2021

Nihell, at that time Audley, was 16, and Taylor just 15, and the moment they touched gloves in Dublin’s National Stadium it was a historic occasion for the sport.

“This was so significant,” Taylor writes on her Instagram. “The beginning of an amazing life in the ring, not just for me and Alanna, but for all the Irish female boxers that came after us. This moment was the seed. But we will see the fruit long into the future.”

Taylor claimed a 23-12 victory in the fight 20 years ago and is still a very important figure, undisputed champion of the world, a star on the global stage. 

The pair travelled the world together with Ireland teams, became friends, and Nihell was in the crowd when Taylor made history in the London 2012 Olympics – as the first woman to win Olympic gold in boxing. 

Alanna Nihell also took to Instagram on the 20th anniversary of the famous fight.

“Women’s boxing then wasn’t really heard of and to be honest most boxing clubs didn’t want girls training in them,” Nihell writes.

“I was told to come back the following week because the club was too busy. Well, I went back the following week and have never looked back since. Represented Ireland from I was 16 went to the world, European, and many multi nation championships.

“Nothing was televised, there wasn’t much social media about so no one ever got to see how good girls were at these types of championships.

“20 years on and I’m so proud to see how women’s boxing has grown and grown. And it’s a massive thank you to Katie Taylor, she broke down a lot of barriers and pathed the way for us women and it’s great to see it continuing with more and more talented female boxers.

“Women’s boxing was introduced at London 2012 Olympics and from then the rise in women’s boxing is just class … and now there’s definitely no clubs out there telling girls to come back next week.

“It’s not women’s boxing it’s just boxing and I am proud to have been a part of this history-making era.”

Nihell hang up the gloves three years ago, and told Irish Mirror last week:

“I’m truly committed to the sport and want to give back to it as a coach. I would love to help others go where they want to go.”

35-year-old Katie Taylor will return to the ring on Saturday 11 December as a co-headliner at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool alongside Conor Benn, live on DAZN worldwide.