Taylor’s focus now on London

KATIE TAYLOR earned her place among the legends of world boxing when she outpointed Cheng Dong of China 18-5 to win her third consecutive lightweight title at the AIBA women’s world boxing championships in Barbados on Saturday night.

It was another spectacular performance from the Bray woman and the fact that it came on the back of a hard fought semi-final victory over the American lightweight, Queen Underwood, made it all the more exciting.

It was the second time Taylor and Dong touched gloves in the final of the world championships. Two years ago in Ningbo City the Irish woman beat Dong 13-2.

This time she was even more emphatic. Using her unsurpassed technical skills, she got inside the longer reach of her taller opponent and scored with both hands from multi-punch combinations. She won the first round 4-2, the second 6-0, the third 3-1 and the fourth 5-2.

In fact the verdict was never in any doubt and that was in total contrast to her semi-final bout with Queen Underwood when she was lured into a third-round punch up.

“Yesterday I had to give credit to Queen Underwood,” she admitted after Saturday night’s final. “She boxed really well. She made it very hard for me and I felt very tired in the ring.

“Today I felt a lot better and I just kept her arm on the jab. I’ve had a lot of tough fights before but in a major championship I’ve never felt that way before. My main focus now is the Olympic Games.

“The semi-final was definitely one of my most difficult fights. I had to come back from one point behind in the last 30 seconds. But I had a good sleep and a massage afterwards. I actually felt a lot better in the final than the semi.

“I am looking forward to getting home tomorrow. I am just going to take a few weeks off and celebrate this with my friends and my family. It has been a tough few months so I am looking forward to the break.

“Then I will just get back into training and prepare for the Olympics and the Olympic qualifiers.

“I have one of the best coaches in the world in my corner as well – my father (Pete). I was always confident things would go well.”

Taylor also scooped the best boxer award from the 75 nation tournament in another repeat of Ningbo City two years ago. And yesterday it also emerged that she has landed a three-year sponsorship deal compliments of Irish millionaire businessman, Denis O’Brien, head of Digicel. As yet there are no details of the deal but it has been described as “substantial.”

Saturday night’s victory was Taylor’s 100th career win from 106 bouts since 2001. The focus will now be on the 2012 AIBA World Championships in Chongging, China, which will act as the only qualifier for females boxers for the London Olympics.

Thirty six Olympic places across three weight categories – flyweight, lightweight and middleweight – will be filled.

Katie Taylor’s next contest will be at The Rochestown Park Hotel in Cork on November 6 when she will top the bill when the An Garda Síochána Selection host the NYPD.

lTHE clash between top middleweights Andy Lee and Matthew Macklin may be more inevitable than likely as they move along parallel routes.

On Friday night Lee enjoyed a short route victory over the rugged and durable Michael ‘The Midnight Stalker’ Walker when the referee stopped the fight in the eighth round of their scheduled 10 rounder in Chicago.

Macklin also took the short route against Shalva Jomardaschvili at the LG Arena in Birmingham where his opponent retired in round six.


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