Katie Taylor has vowed to make more history at the Rio Olympics after being confirmed as an all-time great at the AIBA World Women’s Elite Championships in Jeju, South Korea yesterday.
The Bray woman beat Azerbaijan’s Yana Allekseeva on a unanimous decision (40-36,39-37,39-37) to claim her fifth successive world lightweight title since ascending the 60kg podium in New Delhi in 2006.
Yesterday’s victory saw Taylor, the current Olympic champion, match Mary Kom’s record of five consecutive AIBA World titles.
“It’s an absolute privilege to equal that record of five world titles, I thank God for another great victory,” she said.
Kom won five World gold medals at two different weights between 2002 and 2010. However, the Indian, who Taylor describes as a legend and who took home bronze from London 2012, has never won Olympic gold.
Moreover, Taylor has secured six European titles, while Kom, who had a Bollywood film released about her boxing exploits this year, has four Asian crowns to her name.
Yesterday’s win was, including walkovers, Taylor’s 24th straight World Championship victory since she lost to North Korea’s Kang Kum-Hui, her only defeat at this level, in Russia in 2005.
The Olympic champion maintained her patience and composure to outfox Allekseeva, who fought as Yana Sydor for the Ukraine up to 2012, in Monday’s 60kg decider.
Taylor found the target with two flashing combinations to take the opening frame on two of the judges’ cards against the Azeri southpaw and a brace of right hooks helped her win the second round 10-9 across the board.
The judges split 2-1 in favour of Taylor, who was working well off the backhand, in the third, leaving Allekseeva needing a knockout in the fourth and final stanza to claim victory.
But with Taylor up on her toes and responding to anything that Allekseeva threw at her with rapid responses off both hands that was never going to happen.
It was a solid win, but Allekseeva served notice that she could be about to usurp Russia’s Sofya Ochigava as Taylor’s biggest rival in the countdown to the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Ochigava was beaten by Taylor in the 2011 and 2012 European, World and Olympic finals and pulled out of her quarter-final with the Irish champion in Jeju with a leg injury.
Twenty-eight-year-old Taylor has now won 17 major titles – one Olympic, five World, six European and five European Union – since 2005. Monday’s decision improved her wins stats to 154 victories from 161 outings since 2001.
She’ll have a new challenge next year as she will be aiming for gold at the inaugural European Games in Azerbaijan. The Baku Games will be a ranking tournament.
However, even if Taylor were to lose in the preliminary rounds in Baku she would still have enough ranking points, courtesy of her World and European wins this year, to go into 2016 ranked No. 1 in the world for an unprecedented 10th consecutive year.
The 2016 AIBA World Championships in Kazakhstan will act as an Olympic qualifier, and the bad news for her opponents is that Ireland’s gold medal magnet wants to make more history at Rio 2016.
She added: “I’m absolutely delighted. It was such a tight contest. Every round was very, very close and very tricky. The tactics from my dad and Zuar (Irish coaches) were spot on again. It’s not hard to find motivation. Every contest is so tight. Every championship is so hard to win and so hard to defend. I know how hard it is to win one world title.
“To keep defending it is an absolute huge challenge. I’m going to try to defend my Olympic title now and try to make history.”
She also intends to take a well-earned break for the rest of the year.
“I’m taking a good rest now. A few weeks off to enjoy Christmas and then I’ll be back for next year.”
Pete Taylor and Zuar Antia and Gerry Storey were working Ireland’s corner in Jeju. Anna Moore was Irish team manager.
Taylor senior said: “We wanted to score single punches and get out. I think she executed that well. I don’t think it (an injury to her left wrist) bothered her. Most of the scores were from the backhand. The backhand to the body won her the fight.”
Zuar Antia, a former six-time Georgian Elite champion, added: “Her will to win is so big. She proved again that she is really a legend.”
Taylor, Michaela Walsh, Joanne Lambe and Claire Grace represented Ireland in Jeju. Ireland finished in joint 5th spot in the medals table with Bulgaria and Panama at the 67-nation tournament.
Team Ireland are due to arrive home via Dublin airport at 5.40pm this afternoon. It will be the fifth time in eight years the Bray BC star has returned through Dublin airport with a world gold medal.
The Bray boxer has been one of the most dominant competitors in the AIBA World Elite Women’s Championships in the past decade.
2005 Podolsk, Russia
beat Pranamika Borah (India) 34-22
Quarter-final: lost to Kang Kum Hui (North Korea) 13-28
2006 New Delhi, India
beat Eva Wahlstrom (Finland) RSCO2
beat Florina Popa (Romania) RSCO2
beat Tatyana Chalaya (Russia) 23-6
Final: beat Annabella Frias (Argentina) 31-14
2008 Ningbo City, China
beat Emma Carruthers (Australia) 20-3
beat Danuse Dilhofave (Czech Rep) 4-3
beat Celeste Peralta (Argentina) RSCI
beat Aizanat Gadzhieva (Russia) 20-2
Final: beat Dong Cheng (China) 13-2
2010 Bridgetown, Barbados
beat Neetu Chahal (India) 12-2
beat Adrian Araujo (Brazil) 20-5
beat Anastasia Belyakova (Russia) 16-1
beat Queen Underwood (USA) 18-16
Final: beat Dong Cheng (China) 18-5
2012 Qinhuangdao, China
beat Rim Jouini (Tunisia) 19-6
beat Saida Khasenova (Kazakhstan) RSC4
beat Mihaela Cijevschi-Lacatus (Romania) W/O
beat Mavzuna Chorayeva (Tajikistan) 16-6
Final: beat Sofya Ochigava (Russia) 11-7
2014 Jeju, South Korea
Beat Valerian Spicer (Dominica) 3-0
Beat Mira Potkonen (Finland) 3-0
Beat Sofya Ochigava (Russia) W/O
Beat Junhua Yin (China) TKO4
Final: Beat Yana Allekseeva (Azerbaijan) 3-0
(Scoring system changed to 10-point must from computer scoring at previous World Championships)
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