It’s a fantastic card for this evening’s Elite National Boxing Championships in the National Stadium with 10 men’s, three women’s titles to be decided and at least five new champions to be crowned.
The most high-profile fighter on the night, however, isn’t boxing for any of those titles. Katie Taylor, AIBA world number-one, reigning Irish, European Union, European, world and Olympic lightweight champion, will be making her first appearance in a ring anywhere since that golden evening in London last August.
“Katie’s in top shape,” said her father and coach Pete.
“She’s really looking forward to being back in the ring for her first fight since the Olympics. I think it’s the longest she has been out of competitive action, six or seven months at this stage.
“She can’t wait to get in there and box. It’s great that it’s on finals night. Always such a great atmosphere there for the national seniors. We’re delighted to be boxing on that card.”
She has already been returned as Irish champion for 2013, unopposed, but to say there’s nothing at stake for Katie this evening is mistaken. None of her myriad titles are on the line but she is now the number one target in women’s boxing, a prized scalp. Against a talented fighter in Karolina Graczyk (Poland), nobody should take anything for granted, says Pete.
“She’s a good opponent, won a bronze medal in Barbados in the world championships so she’s a quality boxer. Katie could probably have done with an easier opponent for her first fight back but look, it doesn’t matter, she would have boxed anybody just to get back in the ring.”
There are three women’s finals this evening and the Katie effect is already obvious with the standard rising in women’s boxing in Ireland.
Pete Taylor says: “The talent in the juveniles is absolutely brilliant, several future stars there.”
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