Meath East Fianna Fáil TD, Thomas Byrne, in his role as Sports Minister, has confirmed the government has not ret ruled out funding a Katie Taylor fight, but will not consider doing so for a May date.
However Byrne has confirmed to Meath Live that Matchrooms Eddie Hearn has put an application in for government funding for a show in May, but has yet to do so for an event later in the year.
On Wednesday he outlined the criteria used by government to decide whether or not any event should be in receipt of state funds.
He said, ‘ When an application is made for state backing civil servants will consider the benefit to tourism, the cost benefit and in this case to the sport itself, and then make a recommendation to government as to whether or not funding should be granted.
‘We have obviously approved some in recent years and you will know as well that the government has decided not to approve other ones where that cost-benefit doesn’t stack up.
‘I have spoken to , Dunshaughlin man, Brian Peters, Katie Taylors manager and subsequent to that conversation Eddie Hearn made an application for funding in relation to a Katie Taylor fight in Croke Park on May 20th.
‘One of the problems with that date is the fact the Heineken Cup final is on in the Aviva the same weekend with obvious knock on effects on tourism.
‘ As of now if they came to us with another proposal,for later in the year, of course we would look at it out of respect to Katie Taylor but, again, with all these proposals, there is a high threshold to cross.
‘For me boxing is a sport I will be actively involved in supporting for a number of reasons, for instance it gets people involved in sport who may have no other sporting outlet, the success of our boxers at Olympic and World Championship level is well documented so the sport in general is deserving of support.
‘Of course it would be great to see Katie box in Croke Park, it would perhaps be an event as much as a boxing show and I can only repeat if we get an application for later in the year it will be given due consideration.’
However one source told us that a problem with hosting the fight later in the year could arise if Katie wins her return bout with Amanda Serrano now scheduled for the 3Arena on May 20th.
They claimed, ‘The Serrano fight is the big one, she is the only one in Katies weight division who can give her a proper fight and Katie has already beaten her once, if Serrano wins the May bout there would be huge interest in a triology fight but if Katie beats her a second time who can she fight later in the year.
‘Katie is hugely popular and deservedly so but people are not going to pay big money to see her fight a mismatched opponent.’