Phelan on top of the world!
By Pat Costello
Ireland, Kildare, Kildare town, St Brigid’s Boxing Club and the Phelan family have a new triple World Champion after 20-year-old Katelynn Phelan completely outclassed her German opponent, Jessica Schadko, in the Bavarian town of Donauwoerth to capture titles at WBC Youth, WIBF and WBF on Saturday night.
Triple World Champion, Katelynn
Phelan with Coach Niall Barrett
Her initials may be KP but Katelynn’s lilywhite gloves had KO written all over them on Saturday night.
The Kildare welterweight, known as the “Smiling Assassin” travelled to the German town to take on the local hero in her own gym, and caused a major upset by forcing her opponent to remain in her corner at the start of Round 6, a Round in which Phelan confidently predicted she would win the fight.
Ireland’s youngest pro boxer punished Schadko from the first bell and left her more illustrious opponent looking quite stunned. In the Rounds that followed Katelynn responded to any Schadko punches with even more venomous ones of her own with combinations to the body and jabs to the face as the game plan of her Coaches, her Dad, Paddy, and Niall Barrett worked a treat.
She was coolness and calmness personified as she inflicted five rounds of punishment on Schadko in a fight that was due to take place last month but was postponed due to illness to the German. She obviously used the intervening weeks to hone her fitness and her skills.
Round 5 ended with Phelan unleashing a barrage of punches that pinned the German to the ropes and in the neutral corner. The TKO gave the young Kildare welterweight a 4-0 professional fight record and will surely make the world of boxing sit up and take notice as she thoroughly deserved the victory on Saturday night.
Speaking to the Kildare Nationalist after the fight a delighted Katelynn said, “Winning this fight was amazing. It means so much because I trained so hard and I was so dedicated to this fight. Also knowing that not many people gave me a chance of winning pushed me even more to show everyone that I am at world level and I deserved to win.”
Speaking of her confidence in the days before the fight the new triple World Champion said it was all down to the hard work she had put in. “I prepared like a World Champion. I had a nutritionist and a sports psychologist on board and they helped me massively. As well as the hard training I got my recovery on point. I was doing ice baths, saunas, floatation baths and massages every week to make sure I was recovering properly from sessions and not getting injured.”
“I left no stone unturned and I knew that I had done everything I could in preparation,” the 20-year-old added.
In the days before the fight the Kildare welterweight predicted that she would win the fight in Round 6. “Visualisation is an amazing thing. I could picture and see everything that was going to happen. I could see the punches landing and the belts around my waist,” Katelynn explained. “Working with Alan, my sports psychologist, I could see how it would go.”
Speaking of her high intensity boxing in each of the rounds even though she hadn’t gone 10 rounds before, Phelan told us, “I set a high pace from the beginning and I was well capable of doing 10 rounds at a high intensity. Each round I felt I just got faster and stronger and it all worked out how it was meant to. I stepped up the pressure more each round and after the fifth it was enough for her corner to know it was time to stop the fight.”
She may be triple Champion of the World but Katelynn didn’t forget her family and her roots and she missed them at the fight. “My whole family are over the moon; they haven’t stopped crying yet. It was hard not having them at the fight but knowing I get to bring my belts home to them and show them all the hard work I has done had paid off makes things even sweeter. My family are very supportive and I am so grateful to them.”
Katelynn’ father Paddy said he was confident Katelynn would win the fight. “I was 100% confident she would win as her determination and preparation for the fight were fantastic.”
“The victory means the world to us as a family and it shows the young kids in St Brigid’s Boxing Club that they can reach their goals no matter what obstacles are put in front of them. Hopefully this victory helps to secure the future of St Brigid’s BC for many years to come”
Asked if he was happy he wasn’t able to “persuade” Katelynn not to take up boxing, Paddy added “I am glad she didn’t listen to me on that one. I am Phelan on top of the world and yeah, I’m open to sponsorship for Katelynn too.”
It’s been a good year for Coach, Niall Barrett, who was also in the corner for Gary Cully’s recent victory in England and four belts have now been won for the gym. “I fully believe that Gary and Katelynn are the best prospects in the country so I count myself lucky to get to work with them every day.”
The game plan of himself and Katelynn’s father, Paddy was to set a very high pace from the first bell and for her to use her natural strength and power to overwhelm Schadko and it worked perfectly. “We trained to be able to sustain a ferocious pace for 10 rounds and we were confident that Jessica Schadko wouldn’t be able to match that and would be exhausted as a result.”
The owner of Unit 3 Health and Fitness said he wasn’t surprised by Phelan’s domination of the first five rounds. “I spend hours with Katelynn everyday in the gym so I know how good she is. I knew they were underestimating her and that was their biggest mistake. Katelynn prepared like a World Champion and that is why she is a World Champion.”
The sky is now the limit for the St Brigid’s boxer according to Barrett. “She is a special fighter and a special person but the key is for her to train like she isn’t special. She has to continue to train and sacrifice as much as she does despite all the compliments and praise that will be coming her way.”
“If she stays dedicated to her craft, she will win multiple World titles in multiple weight divisions and earn enough money to retire comfortably. That’s my goal for Katelynn,” Barrett enthuses.
On the question of whether Katelynn can continue to be based in Ireland Coach Barrett says, “Going forward we want to keep building Katelynn’s profile in Ireland in the first instance. Having the support of the local community is so important. From there we will expand her brand in England, in Europe and then in America. She has the talent, the smile, the personality to win over fans everywhere she goes”.
Barrett warns that it won’t be easy financially for Phelan or indeed for Cully however, “Gary and Katelynn rely on sponsorship to fund their training and all the expenses that come with it. If any local business would like to get involved to support, please get in touch.”
Turning to the new triple World Champion again we wondered what plans she might have for the next few weeks and indeed into the new year, “I’m going to relax for a little bit and then get back into training and see where it brings me. I love the sport and I would absolutely love to headline my own show in Goffs for a title. I can picture it so it’s just a matter of staying focused and dedicated and trusting the process for it to happen.”
After her tremendous hard work in the lead up to Saturday night’s fight and her utter destruction of the German home town favourite Katelynn certainly deserves a rest and as she told us previously, she likes to listen to the likes of Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley and Dolly Parton. Maybe the lyrics of Dolly’s “Coat of Many Colours” will be changed to “Belts of Many Titles”
Katlynn is grateful to a number of Kildare businesses who helped support her throughout her training camp. These are Slí Beatha Float House Naas, D Armor, ISAS Information Security Assurance Services, Infinity Recovery Room Maynooth, Irish Biltong, Coyne Research, Hairbelle Kildare, Unit 3 Health and Fitness Naas, and Philly Kinsella of Strong Body Strong Mind.