Terrific Taylor gets over ‘tricky’ obstacle on road to London

Katie Taylor is through to the quarter-finals of the women’s World boxing championships in Qinhuangdao, but the three-time champion has yet to qualify for London 2012.

Yesterday the Bray lightweight demolished Saida Khassenova of Kazakhstan in a one-sided last 16 bout. The referee administered a thirds tanding count before stepping in to stop the contest in the final round.

Taylor won the first round 8-3, the second 5-3 when the Kazak was forced to take her first standing count and then she won the third 7-2 and was 20-8 ahead when the bout was stopped.

It could hardly have gone better for Team Taylor on a day when a number of favourites exited the tournament.

“It was a tricky one to negotiate,” her father and coach, Pete, said: “We watched her on video and she looked great. She beat the Spanish girl and she beat a Colombian the day before. She looked great — she could box and counter-attack. We were worried about the funny angles she was coming in at. But Katie controlled the bout easily and she made her look very novicey really, to tell you the truth.”

He said the standard of women’s boxing has improved dramatically since Katie won her first title.

“The standard out here is amazing,” he said. “The standards are rising all the time. Today we saw the Russian beat the Chinese. Katie is No 1 in the world — they are No 2 and No 3 — and now one of them is not going to the Olympic Games which is sad as well. The Chinese girl is a great boxer but Katie beat her twice in the final of the worlds. She is a great boxer and it would have been nice to see her in the Olympic Games as well because you want to see the best there.

“That’s the nature of the tournament really and it’s unfortunate for Cheng Dong because she’s the world No 2 at the moment.”

Katie, herself, admitted she was just delighted to be through to the quarter-finals.

“We knew she was a very tricky opponent and I had to be aware all the time,” she said. “I’m just delighted to get through to the next round — thank God really.

“The first round was hardest then it was OK in the second round and she was given her first count. A few of the counts were silly counts as well — I don’t know what they were for — but there’s nothing I can do about that. I’m just delighted with the performance today.”

Now Taylor squares up to Romania’s Mihaela Lacatus today still unsure of what exactly she has to do to qualify for the London Olympics with six European lightweights still in the tournament and only three to qualify for the Games.

Norway’s Ingrid Egner is one surprise inclusion in that list after her shock win over American No 1, Queen Underwood, in yesterday’s session. Underwood, who stretched Taylor to the limit at the last world championships in Barbados, was one of the medal favourites while Sofya Ochigava’s victory over China’s Cheng Dong also raised some eyebrows. The Russian was ranked No 3 in the world behind Taylor and Dong. Both bouts were decided by one point margins.

The six Europeans still in contention are Taylor, Lacatus, Ochigava, Egner, England’s Natashia Jonas and Estelle Mossely from France.

Taylor will be favourite against Lacatus but the Romanian won gold medals at bantamweight at the world championships 2005 and the European Championships in 2004.

Meanwhile Cavan flyweight, Ceire Smith, bowed out of the tournament. She was trailing Anna Michalczuk (Poland) 23-7 when the referee stopped the contest in favour of the former European bantam weight champion.


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