Katie Taylor has vowed to put everything on the line in Central Asia to edge a step closer to writing a chapter in the history of international women’s boxing that will probably never be surpassed.
The Olympic champion and Kellie Harrington are in semi-final action in Astana, Kazakhstan today looking to upgrade their guaranteed bronze medals to at least silver at the ninth World Women’s Elite Championships.
Dublin light-welter Harrington, the only Irish female boxer to medal at this level besides Taylor, meets Canada’s Sara Kali in the non-Olympic 64kg semi-final.
Taylor faces France’s Estelle Mosselly, an opponent she beat in the 2013/14/15 European Union, European Elite and European Games finals.
Finland’s Miro Potkonen and Russia’s Anastasia Belyakova clash in the corresponding semi-final. The penultimate lightweight match-ups are an all European affair.
Taylor qualified for the Olympics in August by virtue of reaching the last four.
The Bray woman is well aware that if she beats Mosselly for a fourth time today, she’ll be one victory away from becoming the first woman in the history of the sport to claim six successive World Elite gold medals in Friday’s finals.
“I’m going to do everything to make everyone proud again,” said Taylor, who has not lost in 12 rounds of boxing in her three wins in Astana so far.
“I have a chance to make history this week and to become a six-time world champion and I’m going to do everything I can to make that happen.
“I have to be at the top of my game, but it’s great to be in this position. It’s great to be still in with a chance to defend my world title.”
Harrington won’t be at Rio 2016 because her 64kg class is not an Olympic weight. The Dubliner has been boxing out of her skin in Astana and has a glorious opportunity to reach an AIBA World Elite decider against Kali.
Kali is the current Canadian champion. Her best international performance — before securing at least bronze in Astana — was a silver medal win at the American Confederations in Venezuela in 2013.
“All my focus is on the reaching the final now,” said Harrington.“It’s fantastic to reach the medals stages and have a medal in the bag, but the target is the final now.”
Harrington versus Kali is the fifth fight on the first session which begins at 10am (Irish time) and Taylor’s duel with Mosselly is the fifth fight on the second session which begins at 2pm (Irish time).
Meanwhile, the 11 female lightweights qualified for Rio so far are Taylor, Shelley Watts (Australia), Yana Alekseevna (Azerbaijan), Adriana Araujo (Brazil), Yin Junhua (China), Estelle Mosselly (France), Mira Potken (Finland),Hasna Lachgar (Morocco), Irma Testa (Italy), Anastasia Beliakova (Russia) and Mikaela Mayer (USA).
The 12th and final spot will be distributed via invitation via the Tripartite Commission shortly. Invitations places usually go to developing boxing nations.
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