Documentary of a Privacy Freak

Deirdre Gogarty being interviewed by Kim Bartley outside St. Saviours Boxing Club, Dublin in 2013The first time a documentary crew followed me, I was a 23 year old contender, intensely-serious, born-worrier and privacy-freak. It was 1993, when the European broadcasting company Channel 4, filmed an award-winning program chronicling the first ever Women’s International Boxing Federation world title fight. Stacy Prestage and I boxed for the vacant lightweight championship. It was our third, and final fight in her hometown of Kansas City, Missouri.

The filming of training for my first title attempt began in Ireland where I grew up and women’s boxing was banned. The camera crew doggedly captured every possible moment, only falling short of catching me on the loo, or following me to a gynecologist examination. When I finally broke free for my alone trip to the USA, the producer penetrated Dublin Airport security and surprised me at my gate. Trying to smile, the corners of my mouth trembled on the verge of a scream.

Fast-forward twenty years. In July 2013, Loosehorse Productions from Ireland began filming a documentary based on my infamous fight with Christy Martin in 1996. Filmmaker Kim Bartley, and her sound-man Colm O’Meara, have mastered the art of relaxing their subjects with easygoing interviews that still manage to pierce the heart of the matter.

Again the documentary shoot began in Ireland, but the highlight was when I returned to Kansas City. This time (instead of Channel 4 capturing me losing a majority decision to Stacy Prestage), Loosehorse filmed me reuniting with Christy Martin at the 2013 Ringside World Championships. The memories of my brutal flight with Martin are so vivid, it didn’t seem possible I was chitchatting with the same person who left my body aching for weeks.

The documentary is scheduled to air on Setanta Ireland in a few months. Loosehorse were a joy to work with. In reality, so were Channel 4, but twenty years ago I was so afraid of exposure. Women who wanted to box were considered appalling, barbaric and an outrage. Today, women’s boxing is embraced in Ireland where it was once banned. No longer compelled to be a privacy-freak, I’m free to share my story.

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