Ireland’s Youngest Pro-Boxer Set For World Title Fight

There are times in sport when you just need to take a risk. This weekend Ireland’s youngest female pro-boxer will take the biggest risk of her career, going for a world title shot against a far more experienced opponent.

In what is a major welterweight fight, Katelynn Phelan (20) travels to Munich to face Jessica Schadko, for three belts; the World Boxing Council Youth title, the World Boxing Federation title, and the Women’s International Boxing Association title.

Schadko is unbeaten in eight fights and there is significant investment being placed behind the 19-year-old phenom. For Phelan, the odds are firmly stacked against her. The young Kildare Town welterweight is moving up from four rounds all the way to ten for this bout and, if a jump in rounds and quality opposition isn’t enough, she will take on Schadko behind closed doors in the German’s own boxing club.

The lillywhite’s manager Stephen Sharpe, says if Phelan can pull this off her future changes dramatically. “It’s generally unheard of for a fighter of Katelynn’s experience and age to get an opportunity like this. However, we are in unprecedented times and it’s fallen perfectly for Katelynn.” 

New to the pro-game with three wins from three fights, Phelan brings a strong amateur record with her. The St. Brigid’s Boxing Club graduate is a nine-time Irish national title-holder and holds two World and European Youth Championships medals. She is no stranger to high pressure and high stakes.

Katelyn Phelan Bronze World Championship
Katelynn Phelan with her World Youth Championship bronze. (Photo: Tony Keane (

Phelan said, “I know that Jess is going to be in top form as well, she’s going to try her hardest, but we’re going to come out on top. This is a big challenge, and we are fighting in her back garden. But I’ve fought all over the world in numerous rings. I’m up for a challenge, who doesn’t love a challenge? I’ve full confidence in myself and I know I’m ready for this.” 

Training with her dad Paddy Phelan and coach Niall Barrett, promoted by Boxing Ireland Promotions, Phelan is confident she’s done as much as she can.  “Training’s been tough but it’s been great, I’ve been enjoying every single day.”

Her German opponent has won her last eight bouts, but Coach Barrett is not overly worried about the disparity. He said: “They’re going to be facing a fitter, stronger, faster Katelynn Phelan than they would have fought before. All her numbers have improved, her PBs are smashed, and we’ve added lots of new skills to her arsenal.” 

Phelan has often said how inspired she is by Katie Taylor’s boxing journey, but has worked out her own way to success. Predicted to win an Olympic medal based on her success at youth level and with St Brigid’s Boxing Club in Kildare, she decided last year to leave the protective amateur world and go straight for pro glory. 

“I’m stubborn, and as soon as I started to think for myself, I decided that my style suits more to the professional style of boxing. This is the start, I have massive goals ahead and I know I’m well capable of achieving every single one of them that I put my mind to,” she said. 

This weekend will put that ambition to the test. 

Phelan’s fight Saturday night October 17th will be streamed live at

Niamh Griffin (IG: @realgirlsport)

Niamh Griffin is a sports journalist who previously competed in MuayThai. Niamh has a huge passion for sports and is keen share the stories of women in sport to inspire the future generation. Instagram: @realgirlsport

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