Harrington claims Pete Taylor wouldn’t let her or any female boxers spar with Katie Taylor
Harrington – an Olympic gold medal winner like Katie – was recently crowned European champion along with Amy Broadhurst and Aoife O’Rourke in a hugely successful tournament for Ireland in Budva.
In her new book with Roddy Doyle called ‘Kellie’, Harrington criticised former national women’s boxing head coach Pete Taylor and the Irish Athletic and Boxing Association (IABA), claiming women boxers were held back because Taylor and the organisation “didn’t see past Katie”.
In an Instagram post, Taylor has defended her father.
"In as much as people have given me credit for the inclusion of women’s boxing in the Olympics, it would not have happened without my da tirelessly campaigning outside the ring.
"It is as much a part of his legacy as mine. He saw a future for this sport that few others saw.”
In her book, Harrington claims Pete Taylor stopped her from going to the Women’s European Championships in Ukraine in 2009 — when she was 19 — after she couldn’t attend one training session because she had committed to being bridesmaid at her cousin's wedding.
She also claims Pete Taylor wouldn’t let her or any female boxers spar with Katie Taylor — and the IABA didn't help either.
Harrington writes: “I could have learnt so much training with Michael Conlan and Paddy Barnes and Kenny Egan, and Katie Taylor. But it just wasn’t happening, and that made it really hard. Katie didn’t spar with females; Pete didn’t want her sparring with them. I asked for it, but it never happened.
"The general attitude of the IABA towards women’s boxing really annoyed me. Women weren’t being looked after; just one woman — Katie — was. And the IABA were letting this happen. The women weren’t getting the opportunity to train with the best, and they weren’t being sent to the multi-nations training camps and tournaments that the men were being sent to."
Pete Taylor denied Harrington was not allowed to spar with Katie.
“If Kellie wanted to spar Katie when I was head coach, she could have sparred with her,” he told Independent.ie last week.
“Kellie dropped to 60 kilos when Katie turned pro and if at any stage she wanted to test herself, why didn't she compete against her at 60 kilos? Why did she wait for her to turn pro before moving to 60 kilos? She could have boxed Katie at any stage but she chose not to.
“Ninety per cent of Katie's training was with boys because at the time the girls in the country weren't at her standard — she would have hurt them — but Katie did go away with Alanna Murphy and Sinead Kavanagh and she sparred those girls all the time.
“Paddy and all the lads — that wasn't up to me who was invited into the international squad — that's up the IABA. I didn't have funding to go away to multi-nations camps for any of the girls," he said.