Young boxer with heart of gold ready to follow in hero Katie’s footsteps
A 12-year-old Summerhill girl whose ambition is to compete for Ireland in the Olympics is continuing her boxing training despite the lockdown.
Ella Thompson is single-minded in her determination to follow in Katie Taylor's footsteps and has even had the privilege of training with her idol .
Ella hit the headlines late last year when she featured on the Late Late Toy Show, where she met Katie Taylor and the World Champion and Olympian offered to train with the Summerhill girl.
When that training session took place, Ella really impressed Katie, but she has been impressing those in the boxing world for many years now, having won many important competitions including a recent international event in Sweden.
While Ella is a shining example to other kids her age with her dedication to her sport, she is also extremely generous and is involved in fundraising for little Galway boy who needs to have his wheelchair adapted for school.
“Ella told me she wanted to raise funds for charity,” her father Clifford explains.
“Boxers usually have a nickname and have t-shirts made up with that name on it. Ella's second name is Joy and her nickname is Joyful so we got the t-shirts made up with Joyful Boxing on them.
“Since the Late Late Show, Ella has built a big social media following and people were really interested in the t-shirts and wanted to know where to get them.
“I asked Ella if she would mind if we sold them and she said she didn't as long as the money went to charity.”
The Thompson family came across the story of little Rory Gallagher who has cerebral palsy and needs to get his wheelchair adapted for school.
“I made contact with his mum only to find she is seriously ill herself. She was very moved by Ella's offer.
The t-shirts sell at €20 per adult and €15 for a childs and they had sold €1000 worth before the pandemic. To buy t-shirts you can follow Ella on Instagram on joyfulboxing or on Twitter at Ella Joyful Thompson.
While Clifford, who is her personal coach, says Ella has “ a beautiful innocence about her” she also has a fiercely determined streak when it comes to sport.
“Ella has a heart of gold but also the talent to be the next big boxing sensation from Ireland,” he says.
One of the most memorable moments of her life so far has been her training session with Katie Taylor.
It took place in Ratoath Boxing Club. The professional boxer, Andy Lee, was there and took Ella for a training session on the pads first.
“He told us he was shocked, surprised and delighted by her and Katie's manager, Brian Peters said she was going to be a star.”
Ella enjoyed a full two hour training session with Katie, which included shadow boxing with the World Champion. Ella caught Katie on the mouth but the former Olympic champion laughed and shrugged it off.
“They got on like a house on fire. They seemed to have a genuine connection, as if they knew each other for years.”
To this day, Katie keeps in contact with Ella, regularly commenting on on her Instagram and twitter postings.
Katie is also impressed by Ella's fund raising and loved her t shirt. “She thought Ella's name was lovely – so many boxer's nicknames can be tough and violent.”
Ella has been involved in sport from a very young age. She has been kick boxing since she was five and her next belt would be a black one. “At eight, she decided she wanted to be a boxer and she was also involved in running and other sports.”
Cliff and his wife Elaine have two other children, Luke (8) and CJ (2) and Luke is also showing signs of being an avid sportsman and boxer.
Ella is a member of Dunboyne ABC and also trains at O'Rourkes Gym in Dublin, where her team mates are professional boxers.
Among her wins are the Eskers international cup, Dublin leagues, Michael Andrew's champion ship, Meath championship, Golden Girls boxing in Sweden . She has also been a Leinster, Monkstown International and Wexford Boxing Cup finalist.
“Ella's club, Dunboyne Boxing Club, give her great support and without her teammates and coaches Shane, Kevin, Ian, John, Eamon, Chris, Rachel and Julie the club wouldn't be open.”
Emma is a 6th class pupil of St Patrick's NS in Trim and is missing her schoolfriends during the lockdown. She was heartbroken when the news came through that the schools will remain closed to September as they will not be able to say goodbye before leaving for secondary school. They hope to get together when the lockdown is over.
Ella is very focused on her boxing and has always trained very hard four nights a week with the Dunboyne Club and on a Saturday in O'Rourke's gym.
Even now she trains every day, doing strength and conditioning and a jog and then most evening she does the pads with her Dad.
Clifford says that Ella is very anxious to get back into training with her clubmates.
“As far as she is concerned 10th August cannot come fast enough.
“She just wants to pursue her dream of being the 2028 Olympic champion,” he says.