By Tom Degun

katie_taylor_19-07-11July 20 - Irish boxing is set to receive a €1.5 million (£1.3 million/$2.1 million) boost in a one-off grant administered by the Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA) to improve facilities at boxing clubs up and down the country.

One of the key reasons for allocating the grant is in order to improve, or in some cases provide, accommodation for female boxers in the form of changing rooms which have been lacking across Ireland despite the country boasting some of the world's best female boxers such as triple lightweight world champion Katie Taylor (pictured).

"This special allocation is a fitting gesture to mark the centenary of the IABA and recognises that boxing is by far Ireland's most successful Olympic sport," said Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring.

"It also acknowledges the fact that many boxing clubs operate in facilities which are in poor condition and lack basic facilities.

"This special allocation is an important step in helping to ensure that young people will be able to train in decent facilities which are fit for purpose."

The move will hopefully encourage more female boxers to join a club and fight in the footsteps of Taylor, Katie Rowland and Christine Gargan, while also helping the male boxers continue to make a name for themselves in the international arena.

Ireland claimed three medals at the Beijing 2008 Olympics with Kenny Egan taking silver in the light-heavyweight category, Paddy Barnes claiming bronze in the light-flyweight division and Darren Sutherland picking up bronze in the middleweight division.

Women's boxing is set to make its Olympic debut at the London 2012 Games with 25-year-old Taylor heavy favourite to claim gold in the lightweight category after twice being crowned the International Boxing Association (AIBA) female boxer of the year.

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