Katie Taylor - Olympic champion




Katie Taylor has won gold at the Olympic Games.

The Wicklow woman defeated Russia’s Sofya Ochigava in the women’s Lightweight final at London’s ExCel centre on a scoreline of 10-8.

An estimated 10,000 Irish people were in attendance at the venue with thousands of supporters gathered in her hometown of Bray.

Taylor, boxing out of the red corner, didn’t have it her own way but the relief was palpable when her arm was lifted by referee Almonte Martinez.

She set about business in her usual way, pushing forward and flinging right hooks at Ochigava, a tough, two-time former world silver medallist.

But it soon became clear Taylor was in for a test as the Russian matched her strength inside and clinched up close to prevent the overwhelming Irish favourite from getting off her usual array of big shots, the first round finishing 2-2.

Taylor’s frustrations continued in the second, which Ochigava edged to take a 4-3 lead at the halfway stage, but the Bray star stayed patient and scored with a right to the Russian’s chin and a superb countering left which turned the fight her way.

Heading into the last with a 7-5 lead, Taylor still had a fight on her hands as the Russian muscled forward, landing two clean rights, making the wait for the verdict a surprisingly anxious one for Taylor and her fans.

Online, thousands of fans, fellow athletes and celebrities proclaimed their delight at Taylor's victory.

Speaking to RTE afterwards, Taylor said it was a dream come true.

“I’ve dreamed of this moment so many times before, I can’t believe it. I want to thank everyone for all of their prayers over the past week.

“I was so nervous, it was the most nervous I’ve been for a fight. I had a knot in my stomach all day. It was hard to relax, I couldn’t even eat all day.

“But when I got in there it was just like any other contest. I always knew it was going to be close, it always is between me an Sofya.

“And congratulations to Sofya for such a great fight as well.”

When asked if she knew when the bell sounded for the final time if she had won or not, the 26 year-old said she was unsure and that the decision could have gone either way.

For a moment, Taylor thought the decision might have gone to countback.

“I didn’t know, to be honest. The last round was very close. She caught me with a few punches and I caught her too," she added.

“There was a bit of a delay and I thought it might have gone to a countback at one stage.

“It was such a close contest and it could have gone either way.”

Meanwhile, Great Britain’s Nicola Adams became the first ever female Olympic boxing champion minutes earlier when she won the women’s flyweight by beating Cancan Ren 16-7, while America’s Claressa Shields won gold in the women’s middleweight division.

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