The Katie Taylor machine rolls on to Waterford tonight after a unanimous victory over American Liz Leddy at the Silver Springs Hotel in Cork last night.
A massive and raucous crowd were witness to Taylor, the current AIBA World Lightweight Champion, take on 30-year-old Leddy, who won silver in the 2007 National Golden Gloves competition in USA, represented the US at the 2009 Women’s InterContinental Championships and was runner-up in last year's National Championships.
In a blistering first round, after a rapturous standing ovation from the crowd as the pair entered the ring, Leddy began very aggressively, determined to take the fight to Taylor. Taylor responded by smacking her opponent with three super left hooks in quick succession.
The second round began a little more sedately, with Taylor landing some good combinations and a couple more trademark tidy left hooks.
Taylor, a four-time European Champion, played a little more defensively in the third round, seeking to contain her rival.
However, Leddy was beginning to tire and Taylor swooped in, throwing some neat combinations and continuing to land some lovely left hooks.
Understandably, both boxers appeared to tire in the final round – Taylor had been training in the National Stadium for two hours yesterday morning - but that didn't stop Taylor landing a right-hander on top of Leddy's head, forcing the referee to pause the fight to ensure the American was okay to continue.
The Cork crowd really got behind 25-year-old Taylor in the closing stages – but the outcome was never really in doubt.
Afterwards, amid autograph hunters and photographers, Taylor was in buoyant mood: "I'm very happy with that performance. Liz Leddy was great. It's very useful to box against the different styles. We knew what to expect when fighting her - it was non-stop attack for four rounds. But we did well - our tactics were perfect."
The crowd played a huge part in creating an electric atmosphere which was felt in the ring.
"The crowd were unbelievable," said Taylor. "They always get behind you so much in these kind of nights. It was an amazing atmosphere to fight in which helped make the night so enjoyable. I think I've fought in Cork four or five times now and each time it fantastic."
Her preparations for the world Championships continue tonight, and Taylor feels she is still approaching peak condition.
"I'm getting stronger and fitter. I've lots of work to do and a bit of fine tuning to my condition. By the time China comes around, I should be absolutely spot on."
Regarding the pressure of the nation, Taylor is aware of it, but is able to deflect much of it away.
"I just take each day as it comes. I keep getting congratulations for qualifying for the Olympics - I think I've been getting them for about a year now but I'm far from qualified. All I can do is go to China in the best condition I can be in, and perform to the best of my ability.
"It's a big year with the Euros and the world champs and then hopefully the Olympics. First things first though, I want to retain my world championship and come home with my fourth world title."
In the undercard highlights, Darragh Roche of Sunnyside BC beat Stephen Wallace in a unanimous verdict.
Hugh Brady (Riverstown BC) and Jamie Lonergan (Clonmel BC) renewed their recent rivalry in a Youth 2 54kg bout, a fight which certainly roused the audience. In what was a terrific bout of speed and skill, Munster champion Brady gained a deserved victory.
Michael Olden (Watergrasshill BC) scored a split-verdict success over Conor Madden (St Francis BC) while Peter Keelan (Loughmahon BC) and Noel Murphy (Macroom BC) raised the roof with their majority successes.
B1 36kg John Kiely (Glen BC) BT Craig Condon (St Colman's)
B1 39kg Derek Murray (Ballincollig) BT Stephen Keelan (Loughmahon BC)
B1 39kg Daryl Kearns (Loughmahon) BT Jordan Ryan (St Francis)
Junior Girls 60kg Niamh Ball (Trojan BC) BT Karen O'Sullivan (St Colman's)
Youth 1 63kg Brendan Ryan (Clonmel) BT Daniel O'Brien (St John's)
Junior 66kg Darragh Roche (Sunnyside) BT Stephen Wallace (Ballincollig)
Youth 2 54kg Hugh Brady (Riverstown BC) BT Jamie Lonergan (Clonmel)
Junior girl 63kg Christine Desmond (Macroom) BT Sally Carrig (Ennis BC)
Int 63kg Leroy Dick (Navan) BT Daryl Fitzgerald (St Pauls, Waterford)
Youth 1 50kg Michael Olden (Watergrasshill) BT Conor Madden (St Francis)
Senior 60kg Katie Taylor (Bray) BT Liz Leddy (Portland, USA)
EXHIBITION Dermot Ryan (Ballincollig) v Phillip Maloney (St Francis, Limerick)
Senior 63kg Peter Keelan (Loughmahon) BT Stephen O"Mahony (Fr Horgan's)
Senior 69kg Noel Murphy (Macroom BC) v Mark Fitzpatrick (Riverstown)