Remember the name Deanna Parke. For the twelve year old, a member of Coleraine ABC, is being championed as the next big thing in local boxing.
Deanna made history as the club’s first ever female boxer to step into ring in a competitive bout.
The twelve year old from Bushmills, who is related to MMA star Norman Parke, has won four titles in her first year in the male dominated sport.
The Coleraine boxer met Irish traveller Breda Quilligan in Dublin on Friday in the All Ireland final.
A technical knock out in the semi final, saw the baby faced boxer, a pupil at Ballycastle High School, winning her bout against Mia Dobbin from Curragh Boxing Club in under a minute. This win put her through to the All Ireland final on Friday.
Sadly it wasn’t the end that Deanna had dreamed of.
She lost by a technical knock out in the third round.
But with four titles to her name, the coaches at the Showgrounds based club are excited about Deanna’s future.
Speaking to Times Sport, Deanna’s father, Peter, who is her coach at Coleraine ABC was bursting with pride.
“Deanna was really disappointed by the result, but we are very proud of her. “The girl she was boxing was very strong. Her tecnique wasn’t good, but she was solid.
“Deanna fought very well and landed some good punches. It’s been a learning curve for not just Deanna, but us as coaches,” admitted Peter.
The proud father went on to explain how Deanna got into the sport
“Deanna used to come with me and her brother Darius to training, and she just sat back and watched.
“She then asked me if she could join in, and she never really looked back.
“Deanna is a real little tom boy, it wasn’t long before she was in the ring sparring with the boys, she really enjoys boxing.
“She then made history as the first ever female member of the Club.
“In her first year she has won the Ulster Novice title, the Nine Counties title, she was also crowned North West and Ulster Champion.
“Deanna loves boxing. I have to say, speaking about her as a coach and not her father, that she is really disciplined. She is always shadow boxing, doing sit ups, she is really determined to do well in the sport.”
Peter added that Deanna’s partcipation has encouraged other girls to step into the ring.
“We now have seven other girls at the Club who come along and train regularly. We hope that her success will encourage others to come along,” said the Coleraine ABC coach.