Few sports are as synonymous with the nation of Ireland as boxing. Like the Tolkien-esque landscape, the malty red ale, and the rich folk music, boxing is a staple of the nation. Not only do Irish people love to watch big prize fights, they also love to participate—and dominate—in the sport. The nation has nabbed 31 Olympic medals overall, and over half of those wins (16) were earned by boxers, including two golds.
The Emerald Isle has a long association with the sport of boxing, producing heavyweight greats like Jimmy McLarnin and Steve Collins. Interestingly, however, it was Irish-American boxers who popularized the sport when they brought it back with them to Ireland. Though the modern form of boxing we practice today was born from U.K. prizefighting, Ireland didn’t really enter the ring, so to speak, until Irish immigrants began fighting stateside.