Local woman to fight at Madison Square Garden

Boxinginsider.com hosted the Amateur Boxing Fight Night, the road to the Garden. The event was held at the Sony Hall. The event was sanctioned by USA Boxing Metro. Photographer:Ed Alvarez

Rossie set for Ring Masters!

 Ahead of her appearance at the Ring Masters boxing tournament in Madison Square Garden tonight (late Thursday night Irish time), Roscommon town native Sarah Cunningham spoke to Dan Dooner on how her amateur career has progressed in New York…

Sarah, give us an update on how things have been going in the Big Apple since we last spoke.

Things have been great over here; it’s been a busy but productive few months. I’ve been juggling a lot of work commitments while maintaining and ramping up my training for this boxing tournament which kicked off in March of this year. I also celebrated my wedding to Henry (Deleon), a boxing coach based in Brooklyn.

The passion for boxing is still there obviously…how did you cope during lockdown?

I can’t tell you how much this sport feeds my soul and gives me so much grounding in life. Seeing how much amateur boxing has taken off at home too has been truly inspiring. Lisa O’Rourke is going to do great things for the sport over the next few years and I’m excited to see her career unfold.

Lockdown was really tough, we lost our home – Mendez Boxing – due to the owner Francisco Mendez passing away during Covid. It was such a special place for us, all walks of life on an equal playing field. We kept up training outdoors until the gyms re-opened.

Did you make the Katie Taylor fight…what was the buzz in NYC like? 

I sure did. I was ringside for it and it was quite honestly the greatest moment in women’s sport. To see two women make history like that and break down barriers and achieve what others said could never be achieved was truly spectacular. And they fought their hearts out, I’ve re-watched the fight countless times and that last 30 seconds of round ten still gives me goosebumps. It was incredible to witness.

How many fights have you had post-Covid and how’s training going?

I got back into competing in November of last year, exactly two years after my previous fight. Since then I’ve had five more fights, both in preparation for this tournament and going through the qualifying brackets to make the finals. Training has been intense but good. There’s nothing like that 4.30 am alarm clock going off to get the two-hour training session in before my work day starts. I’ve been biking over the Manhattan Bridge from winter through to summer, and doing a lot of competitive sparring alongside all of that.

How are you feeling ahead of tonight’s event?

I’m excited! I’ve worked hard for this and I’m ready to put on a killer performance. I’ve had nothing but the best support around me from my partner, to my trainers, my sparring partners, to my friends and family around the world. I have my parents flying over from Ireland to see me fight. They have been so supportive through this entire journey and have always tuned into the live streams in the early hours of the morning, so it really is a dream come true to fight at Madison Square Garden, look out at the crowd and see my parents there to support me.

What’s next after Ring Masters?

Quit my job and become a pro? Just kidding! I’d like to continue progressing through the amateurs for as long as I can. I’d love to make it to the National Championships and compete with those aiming for the Olympics. I’ve also been thinking of taking an extended trip home for a couple months and checking out some boxing gyms there. I had the pleasure of meeting Steve Collins, one of Ireland’s greatest boxers. He watched me spar a few weeks ago and he suggested I hit up his brother Packie’s gym when I’m home next for some training.