Olympic champion Katie Taylor is convinced her best is yet to come as she prepares to lead Ireland into the inaugural European Games in Baku next month.
The Bray 28-year-old recently returned to the ring after six months out with a wrist injury she sustained in the course of clinching her fifth straight world title in South Korea in November.
And Taylor believes the longest injury-enforced break of her illustrious career could serve her well as she looks to continue making history for a number of years to come.
Taylor said: “I badly needed to get back in the ring after long out and the wrist held up well so I will be 100% prepared when I go to Baku.
“It was a very frustrating period for me and I wasn’t able to spar for long periods but I was able to work on a lot of new things and it has left me feeling very fresh.
“I have stayed positive and I believe I am still improving in every competition I enter. I have even managed to improve a lot since the last World Championships.”
Women’s boxing is set to be one of the star attractions at the Baku Games with five weight divisions – two more than the Olympic programme.
Taylor will be joined by Michaela Walsh and Ceire Smith in the Ireland squad while fellow Olympic champion Nicola Adams is also set to compete.
However, there can be no repeat of the Commonwealth Games final between Adams and Walsh as they are competing in different weight categories.
Taylor goes into the event in the knowledge that victory will secure her status as lightweight world number one for an unprecedented 10 years in a row.
At a time when many of her contemporaries including Olympic rival Natasha Jonas and Indian flyweight Mary Kom are announcing or considering retirement, Taylor says she is not short of the motivation to fight on.
She added: “I’m not going to be boxing for ever but I’ve put no time-cap on it really. As long as I still feel a passion for the sport and preparing for these big competitions I will carry on fighting.
“At the moment defending my Olympic title in Rio is my main goal and it is something I never stop thinking about.
“But any event like this is a great showcase for women’s boxing and I’m sure the European Games will continue to grow as a major event in the future.”