‘This is where all the hardship begins’

Life after London has been a curious mixture of mania outside the ring and calm inside it for Katie Taylor but that is all about to change for the Olympic champion who will return to action for the first time since the Games early next year.

It all starts next February 24 at the Bórd Gáis Energy Theatre in Dublin when the Bray boxer will pick up where she left off at London’s ExCel Arena against an opponent yet to be confirmed.

Beyond that it would appear as though the sky’s the limit.

Brian Peters, who is promoting the February bill, has spoken about the possibility of the Irish woman competing in Madison Square Garden or Las Vegas as an amateur and it seems likely that she will be the face of a proposed womens’ version of the World Series of Boxing (WSB), too.

Taylor and her father, Pete, discussed the mooted launch of the WSB’s female version with International Boxing Association (AIBA) president Dr Ching-Kuo Wu during their recent trip to Armenia where the 26-year old was named World Female Boxer of the Year for a third occasion and the body’s official womens’ ambassador for the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.

The male version of the WSB is already providing another welcome outlet and platform — as well as a financial return — for a number of Ireland’s leading amateurs, including John Joe Nevin and Michael Conlan, who will be competing in the national championships next February.

By then, six months will have passed since the nation’s top fighters performed their heroics in the UK but Peters is in the process of examining a bill that would include Taylor and the rest for the O2 later in 2013 and it is hoped that England would provide the opposition.

Up to now, all of Taylor’s major fights have taken place on foreign soil but Peters is also hoping to bring the gold medallist to the likes of Cork, Belfast, Galway and Castlebar.

“I can’t wait to go back into the ring,” said Taylor. “We have a date now to focus on. It has been so long since I have been in the ring and I’m looking forward to starting the preparations for the European Championships next year.

“It has been hard to get any consistency (in training) the last while because of everything that has been going on but we are going to get stuck in after Christmas and focus on this fight. This is where all the hardship begins.”

Indeed, this is where the ‘Road to Rio’ begins for Taylor but finding someone to share the first few steps hasn’t been easy. With the Europeans scheduled for later in the year, none of her continental rivals have been keen on accepting the challenge, Britain’s Natasha Jonas among them.

“I am happy to box anyone, to be honest,” said Taylor. “It would be nice to get a different opponent but I don’t really know who is out there. My dad is looking at that but we were looking at fighting the likes of Queen Underwood but I think she might have her national championships on at that time.’’


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