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Irish sport is in mean health, with Olympians performing heroics in Tokyo and professional athletes also excelling, be it in sports that are watched worldwide, or those such as Hurling and Gaelic Football.
One of the holy grails for any Irish sports star is to break the American market, with the huge Irish diaspora that exists in the states often coming out in force once they are aware of an Irish sports star whose story they can follow.
Here are just some of the Irish sports stars who have a chance of breaking America in 2022, as well as one or two whose are attempting to break America all over again.
Women’s boxing is on the rise right around the globe, thanks in large part to superstars like Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano
The “Fighting Irish” is a label that has stuck with Irish combat sports stars and one that all of them are only too happy to uphold. When it comes to female fighters, Katie Taylor stands alone as one of the best of her generation and perhaps of all-time, with her being a heavy odds-on favourite to overcome her opponents. However, all that is due to change when Taylor comes up against fellow boxing legend Amanda Serrano, on the 30th of April in New York’s Maddison Square Garden. That is because Serrano is every bit as decorated as Taylor in the pro game, with the FanDuel sportsbook barely able to split them when it comes to pre-fight odds. Taylor is well known in the US, but a victory in this career defining fight really would announce her as one of the biggest sports stars on the planet.
If Taylor does manage to come away the victory online betting companies will be counting there losses, it would be hard to price up retirement, but may well choose to call time on a career that would hold no more challenges to conquer, other than perhaps an ill-advised move up the weights to face someone like Claressa Shields. A homecoming fight against the likes of Natasha Jonas would also be a fitting farewell for this Irish sporting heroine.
This young Irish sprinter already has one foot in the door when it comes to breaking America, because she lives, trains, and studies in Texas, where she is a student at the University of Texas. It is their state-of-art training and methods which are helping Adeleke become one of the best junior athletes in the world. If she can string some strong performances together in 2022 then all the big sports apparel manufacturers will come calling with sponsorship deals.
Ireland is abuzz with track and field athletes, with Adeleke joining the likes of Andrew Coscoran in turning heads at major international championships
Women’s soccer is huge in the US and so any female footballer who manages to make waves in the game always pops up on the radars of sports fans across the Atlantic. Savannah McCarthy has established herself as one of the world’s best defenders, having tussled with some of the most feared strikers on the planet, only to come out on top.
With vital World Cup qualification games coming up before the summer, McCarthy could well cement herself as a prime transfer target for one of the big women’s clubs in the US.
Conlan enjoyed a stellar amateur career but is perhaps most famous for bemoaning being undone by some dodgy judging at the 2016 Olympics.
He gets to show the whole world, and especially US audiences, just what he can do when he faces Leigh Wood on March 12th. A resounding victory would see him line up potential fights against American-based stars like Emanuel Navarrete.
McGregor broke into the US market in a big way with his crossover fight against Floyd Mayweather as well as his outings in the UFC. He is now plotting a return to combat sports in 2022, looking to break America all over again. Few would bet against him doing it.