Taylor begins title defence in Korea

Katie Taylor

Olympic champion Katie Taylor opens her title defence at the AIBA World Women’s Elite Championships in Jeju, South Korea against Dominica’s Valerian Spicer today.

Taylor, aiming for her fifth successive lightweight world gold, will be in the ring at approximately 10.15am this morning for the last-32 four-rounder.

Team Ireland won’t have far to look for background on Spicer as she was beaten by Belfast’s Alanna Audley-Murphy in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this year.

Russia’s Sofya Ochigava, who Taylor beat in the 2012 World and Olympic finals, comfortably outpointed Chen Cia-Ling of Chinese Taipei yesterday.

Kilkenny’s world No.10 ranked welter Claire Grace advanced after a battle of southpaws with Romania’s Cristina Stanca in Jeju yesterday.

But Monaghan featherweight Joanne Lambe is out after dropping a unanimous decision to Chinese feather Qiong Lu in the last 32 of the tournament.

Grace came through a tough four-rounder with Stanca before having her hand raised on a unanimous decision after it went back to the judges following a majority draw (37-38, 38-38, 38-38).

The DCU student, the current Irish and National Colleges champion, who earned the initial 39-37 score from one of the judges, twice needed attention to a cut over her left eye in the final round. But the ringside doctor gave her the green light on both occasions and she finished on the front foot against the durable Romanian.

Lambe worked well behind her jab yesterday, but took a standing count in the second round off a combo from Lu, who was awarded a fairly generous 40-35, 40-36, 40-36.

“Joanne was unlucky to get the count in the second round,” said Irish team manager Anna Moore.

Michaela Walsh will be in action this morning 5am (Irish time). The Belfast bantam faces Jamaica’s Sarah Joy Rae, who she beat en route to silver at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.


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