THE talented Kilkenny boxer with dynamite in the fists exploded on the internaitonal stage at the weekend.
Clare Grace, a member of Callan boxing club, was the toast of the National Stadium on Friday night when she won the toughest, most engaging fight on the card in what was her first senior international bout.
The gutsy 17-year-old came from behind to floor her opponent before powering on to score a dramatic 21-19 win that had the crowd in raptures.
“It had to be her best performance ever,”, enthused Callan trainer, Jimmy Walsh. “She was behind all the way, but she kept her patience, kept doing what she should be doing and then she nailed her opponent.
“The crowd loved it. I think Irish boxing has a new star.”
Clare was boxing in what was the first full senior international for the Irish ladies. World champion, Katie Taylor, led the Irish team against Holland.
Young Grace was a point behind after the first round. She was two down after the second and third rounds, but the fight swung her way when she put her opponent on the canvas with a vicious left hook in the fourth.
Clare is daughter of Michael and Eileen Grace from Tullahought. She has been invited by the Irish boxing authorites to join the national team for the World Championship in China in May, but she declined because she is studying for the Leaving Certificate.
During the past few months Clara has powered her way to wins in the Irish Youths, under-21 and senior championships in the 70 kgs division.
Meanwhile, the Callan club enjoyed the best of times at the Leinster championships over the weekend. They produced seven champions in Courtney Doheny (60kgs), Jade Aduore (46kgs), Page O’Keeffe O’Brien (58kgs), C.J. Holohan (Boy I 29kgs), Pat Callaghan (Boy I 52kgs), Sean Purcell (Boy 2 42kgs) and Conor Ivors (Boy 3 46kgs).
See picture page 19.