Can you take me back to the start of your career , how did you start out in boxing ?
I started boxing at the age of 7. I had a massive interest in sport as I grew up with 3 older brothers. My 3 brothers at the time were competing in boxing so I was always watching them train and compete. The rule as a kid for me was I had to be home when the street lights came on. I was very bored on the winter nights as I had to come in at an early time so one of the evenings I decided to go down to the boxing club with my brothers to train and fell in love with the sport straight away! I’m coached by my dad Tony, Anto Donnelly, Derek McArdle, Damian Douglas and Gavin Donnelly who all have helped me up until this day. They all train me in different ways which helps me hugely! I had my first fight when I was 7 years old in Dealgan Boxing Club which is the club I box out off. I had my first competitive fight when i was 11. In 2008 I won my first Leinster and All Ireland title. In 2012 I was able to compete Internationally so it was a big year for me. I traveled to Poland in 2012 for my first European championship which is where I won my first European title. I boxed Germany in my first bout who was at the time World no.3. I won 17-7. I boxed Turkey in my semi final, it was a tough fight but I won 17-12. My final was against Russia. My opponent was world no.2. It was a very close fight but I managed to come through as the winner winning 16-15. Since then I have boxed all over the World at European, World and Multi Nation Tournaments. I boxed at the World Championships in 2013 where I lost out very fairly to a brilliant opponent from the USA named Jajaira Gonzalez. It was a brilliant experience and I walked away learning a lot. My 2nd World Championships was in 2015 in Taiwan. I won my first fight against the world no.3 from Kazakhstan. My following fight I lost on the end of a bad decision against a boxer from China.
In 2014 I also traveled to Germany for the Queens Cup Multi Nation. I boxed Germany in my first fight winning 3-0, I won my 2nd fight against Kazakhstan who was Senior champion in her country and in my final i boxed Sofia Nilson from Sweden who is now a very good friend of mine which I won 3-0. I was also awarded the Best Technical Youth Boxer of the tournament. In 2015 I won my 3rd European Title and also was awarded the Best Youth Boxer in Ireland.
You have 13 Irish titles and 3 European gold along with 1 silver medal , how did you find winning those titles ?
The Irish titles I won I trained very hard for. Some of them have been walkovers which at the time I would have been disappointed as i didn’t get to compete for my title. But I trained very hard for them so after a while I realized I deserved them. I enjoyed my first European experience but I wasn’t 100% confident flying over there as It was my first time competing Internationally. I cried my eyes out after I secured a bronze medal because i didn’t expect to go over and do that well so winning the European gold was the cherry on the cake especially beating world class boxers. My favorite experience was when I went to my 2nd Europeans in Hungary. I traveled alongside Katie Taylor and also captained the team. My first was against a very tough Turkish boxer, I won that 2-1. My 2nd fight was against the Hungarian boxer who I beat 3-0. My final was against a French boxer who I beat 3-0. I loved the experience of it all. My European Silver came in 2014 when I traveled to Italy, again I really enjoyed the experience and learned a lot from this trip. I boxed Italy in my first contest who was a very tricky boxer. I stopped her in the 4th round. In my semi final I boxed a Swedish boxer who just kept coming forward, it was comfortable for me and won 3-0. My final was against and excellent Ukrainian boxer, the first two round I won on all the judges cards, in the 3rd round I took a standing count which I couldn’t argue with because I stood blocking punches too long. In the 4th round it was even enough and I threw a 1-2 combination and caught her, the referee jumped in and give me a standing count. The clip is on you tube as straight after my final someone had uploaded it. At the time I was devastated but when I look back I can still be proud of myself as I made history by being the only female boxer ever to win European gold and a European silver medal from Ireland.
I also enjoyed my European experience in 2015 when I travelled to Hungary for the 2nd time. I was named captain also. My first fight was against the home boxer from Hungary. She was very tricky but thankfully I came through and won by stopping her in the 4th round. My 2nd fight was against Sweden who I mentioned is a good friend of mine, it was hard getting in but we were both after the same thing so we had to put the friendship to one side. I won that fight TKO 3. My final was against the Italian who had boxed 60 kg at the world championships 3 months previous. I felt I won the first 2 rounds very comfortable, i think she would of edged the 3rd round but I came on strong in the 4th and nicked it! It was a great fight all together.
How do you find keeping your weight in check as you box at 57 kgs ?
When I first started boxing competitively at 11 I boxed 42 kg. The following year I took a massive jump and entered the Leinster at 52 kg, I entered the All Ireland Championships at 54 kg and the Cadet Championships which is another Irish Championship at 57 kg. Since then I’ve kept my weight at 57 kg, every tournament I have boxed 9/10 times has been 57 kg so I made no secret to anyone about what weight i would be entered at. As the years went making 57 kg has got tougher, definitely! I started to develop into a women and I started to gain muscle which made it hard. I’m still competing at 57 kg but over the nest 1-2 years I will move up to 60 kg as it’s an Olympic weight so I would like to gain the experience at a heavier weight. But for the 5 years 57 kg has always been the weight i competed at.
How do you find the diet side of boxing , do you ever want to just break out and eat whatever you like ?
I hate the dieting! lol.. Because 57 kg got tougher for me as I got older I had to stay away from all sorts of sugar foods and fatty foods and stick to the water. Its a nightmare but I always know that them sort of sacrifices be well worth it in the long run. After a tournament I always binge eat, I always buy my chocolate before a competition and just tease myself until its over. The amount of chocolate I buy you could fit into a hamper basket lol. Some crazy part of me likes the healthy eating though because I always feel good in my body, my body is in good shape and when I feel like that I know my performances in the ring will be to the best of my ability.
Do you have any special techniques while preparing for a fight ?
The night before I box i don’t get a wink of sleep especially if the tournament is huge. So i usually be twisting and turning in bed until it’s time for weigh in. When I weigh in i make sure i have plenty of food in me and i’m fully hydrated. After wards I go straight back to bed and get a few hours sleep and I usually wake up feeling very good. Again I’ll drink and eat more to make sure i have all the energy I need in the ring. When we go to the venue where i’m boxing I always listen to music. I hate people talking to me before I box because I always try and get into a zone where I’m focused but if people constantly come up and talk to me I get in a very bad mood lol. But after I box I’m the best person to talk to!
Do you think female boxers get enough coverage in the media ?
I think female boxing has definitely picked up since Katie won gold in 2012, its growing very rapidly but personally I don’t think we get as much recognition as we deserve. There’s a lot of female boxers on the rise and nobody knows this because of the lack of recognition. A lot of people look at it as a mans sport and don’t think female boxers shouldn’t be boxing but over the next few years everyone will get a huge surprise at how good women are at boxing!
Can you explain the funding drive to me ?
The funding for women at the moment is, if your an Olympic weight 51 KG, 60 KG, 75 KG, you will qualify for some sort of funding whether its if you have a European, World or Multi nation medal you will automatically receive funding once your Senior Champion of Ireland. Because the men has all boxing weights in the Olympics they get funding a lot easier then the women. I train full time, I have no job as I put all my time into boxing and I don’t receive any sort of income because I’m not an Olympic weight and I have no other sponsors. So it is very tough.
Can you tell me the plan for the next four years ?
My plans for the next four years is too become World Champion, European Champion and of course Olympic Champion. I want people to think of me when they think of female boxing. I want to continue making history but the Olympics in Tokyo 2020 is definitely the biggest goal of mine!
Can you see yourself boxing professionally after your amateur career finishes ?
I’ve started to think about that recently about the professional game. I would like to at some stage, if I got a very good deal I would of course take up that opportunity. I have a massive liking towards Oscar Dela Hoya’s ‘ GoldenBoy Promotions’ so it would be unreal if he started something up for the women because he seems to be a brilliant mentor and promoter. But Definitely as I said if I got a good offer I would consider it. It would be a brilliant experience all the same.
Who are your sporting idols ?
When I was younger and first started boxing Katie Taylor was a huge hero and inspiration of mine, I still think she is and amazing boxer but as I got older I started watching more than just Katie. I started to watch Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and straight away I fell in love with the he boxed. His power and the way he puts his combinations together is just something else. I could watch him all day! He’s a strange looking Mexican, a nice looking Mexican! He’s by far my biggest hero. I try to implement his style sometimes. He’s Class.
Where did the nickname “Dynamo” come from ?
When I won my first European title in 2012 a man named San Sheridan set up a fan page like he did also with Katie Taylor and it was him who came up with it. The girls on the 2015 European team were calling me Canelo and chanting El Canelo when I was boxing which I loved lol
And finally Amy , what is the ultimate dream ?
My Biggest aim is to win and Olympic gold medal! There’s not a day that goes by I don’t think of being on the podium w