Thursday, February 06, 2020

National Champion Rachel Lawless with her coaches Pat Ryan (left) and Ray Lawless

RACHEL Lawless, the young Portlaoise Boxing Club flyweight prodigy, made history last Friday night at the National Stadium when winning the under-18 national championships. In doing so, Rachel became the first female boxer from the Portlaoise Boxing Club to win the U/18 national crown.
For Rachel to win this title, she had to deliver, two amazing top class performances. In her semi-final bout her opponent was Nicole Clyde, the reigning and Ulster champion. To get a result here, Rachel would have to bring her ‘A Game’ to the ring, and she did just that.
Nicole Clyde was beyond doubt one of the toughest opponents Rachel had met so far in her career. She was as tough as it gets. Nicole had the advantage of been a year older and possibly a shade bigger in the physical department.
However, none of this would not phase Rachel. She knew this contest was going to be her litmus test, and it was.
Her preparation for these championships was tailored for her needs. Rachel’s sacrifice, commitment and dedication was commendable. Two months of early morning runs and walks with her father Ray, one of her coaches, and her mother Eimear. Participating in ten to 12 sessions per week to ensure on the day of the competition she was ready.
During the contest, Rachel showed wonderful composure, boxing on the back foot. She implemented the coaches’ plan to perfection, created space, angles and her shot choice and combinations were very well and executed. After three rounds of non-stop boxing, the decision at the end of the contest went to Rachel by a unanimous 5-0 decision.
This was Rachel’s first time to box over the three x three minute rounds and she displayed all the qualities to perform over this duration.
Her opponent in the All-Ireland final was none other than Chloe Gabriel from the Mulhuddard Boxing Club in Dublin, the reigning European female champion. This final was undoubtedly one of the most talked about contests of the evening.
Both boxers had huge support creating a great atmosphere in the home of boxing, the National Stadium. Rachel’s final was the third bout on the program and when the bell rang for the start of the first round Rachel made her intentions known with a quick three punch successful combination attack.
She certainly caught her opponent off guard and surprised her with the accuracy of her punches. Rachel completely dominated with multiple surprise attacks throughout the contest. Her south-paw counterpunching continuously teasing her opponent with feints and winning the exchanges.
Rachel displayed multiple skills, and showed her class throughout the entire contest. Her ability to implement the plan devised by the coaches was in the main the deciding factor. Her ring craft and footwork was excellent. Her attacking skills, defence mechanism, and counter-attacking skills on the night were superb.
Head Coach Pat Ryan said: “Rachel had to do three things on the night, win against a European champion, win a national title and make history. She achieved all three, a remarkable achievement.”
Rachel will now join the national panel and will be in pole position for selection to represent Ireland in the European Championships in Montenegro in March.
Mr Ryan added: “I would like to thank all of the coaches, members and officials of the Portlaoise Boxing Club for their continued support of all our boxers in the various competitions they participate in from juvenile to senior elite, male and female.”

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