Michael Conlan: 'Broadhurst will be branded as English forever for GB boxing switch'

Michael Conlan: 'Broadhurst will be branded as English forever for GB boxing switch'

Ireland's Michael Conlan believes that Amy Broadhurst will receive no future love from Irish boxing fans for making a controversial switch to Team GB this year. The former Olympian believes that fans of the sport in Ireland will forever see her as English, even if she does decide to turn professional one day.

Broadhurst is seen as one of the brightest talents in Ireland and was expected to make the Irish Olympic squad in Paris this year.

Broadhurst won world gold in the light-welterweight division in Istanbul in 2022 and also won the European and Commonwealth Games titles in the same year for Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Broadhurst swept the European, Commonwealth, and World Championship titles at super lightweight/light welterweight (63 kg) in 2022, but that is not an Olympic weight.

The Dundalk boxer preferred fighting at 60 kg, but countries can only qualify one boxer per weight for Paris, and reigning Olympic lightweight champion Kellie Harrington has already secured qualification.

Shortly after, rumours emerged that Broadhurst would be making a switch to Team GB, and those rumours came true days later. Broadhurst qualifies for the team through her father, Tony, who is English.

Irish gold medallists (from left): Amy Broadhurst, Kellie Harrington and Aoife O'Rourke with coach Zaur Antia (Image: Ben McShane/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

"The decision to pursue an alternative route to the Olympic Games—after I was informed by the Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) in March 2024 that I would not be assessed for selection for the final qualifier—was not taken lightly," said the Dundalk native in April.

"As the holder of a British passport, I felt I owed it to myself and all the people that have supported me throughout my career to do everything possible to continue to pursue my dream of competing on the biggest stage in sport."

The reason this is so controversial is because of the political and historical nature of the relationship between Ireland and England. Throughout the centuries, there has been much discontent on the Irish side, but the tensions have eased somewhat as the years have passed.

However, one man who knows the politics of the sport of boxing believes that Broadhurst's switch to Team GB will never be forgiven by Irish fans of the sport.

"I can and I can't understand the decision she has made. I can understand she wants to be an Olympian; she wants to achieve what she wants to achieve, but for what purpose?" said Conlan to the Irish Mirror.

"If her only goal in life is to be an Olympic champion, I get it, but if she wants to go pro, earn millions, and be a world champion with a fantastic following from Ireland, she's done the wrong thing because Irish people aren't really going to back her for that reason.

He believes that Broadhurst is potentially blowing the chance to emulate the likes of Katie Taylor and Kellie Harrington, who both won medals for Ireland at different Olympics.

"She's basically turned her back on Ireland. I get why; I understand why, and if that is Amy's goal to be an Olympic champion, it's understandable. Nothing else matters.

"But she will not get the plaudits, the love, and the admiration from the fans from Ireland like Katie Taylor and Kellie Harrington simply because she has not done it for Ireland."

The second World Qualification Tournament in Bangkok from May 24 to June 2 will offer boxers a final chance to secure a quota for the Olympic Games in Paris 2024.