Ringside seat for Katie as Merryn bids to KO cancer
SHE is considered the best female boxer in the world as the reigning Irish, European, and World champion with an Olympic gold medal under her belt.
But Katie Taylor, who warmed the hearts of a nation when she came home with gold from the London 2012 Olympics, was happy to watch the action from the ringside last night at an event to raise vital funds for a little local girl who is suffering from a rare form of cancer.
The 28-year-old joined her father and coach Pete Taylor as they cheered on the amateur contenders at a white-collar boxing event at the Royal Hotel, in her home town of Bray, Co Wicklow, to raise a target of between €20,000 and €30,000 for Merryn Lacy.
The five-year-old was diagnosed nearly a year ago with Stage 4 neuroblastoma, an aggressive cancer affecting the nervous system.
Although she is currently undergoing treatment here, a special fund has been established in her name due to the high relapse rate, in the event she must travel to the US for ongoing treatment.
Mr Taylor, who was hosting the bout, said he was delighted by the support from the local community, including the boxers and supporters who paid €20 each to cheer them on.
"They're showing a lot of courage to get into the ring for the first time," he said of the amateur boxers, including 10 female contenders, who have been training for the past eight weeks for the event.
"I'm really proud of everybody taking part," he said, adding Katie is now back training for the world championships in South Korea in November, but was happy to lend her support to the charity event.
Among the participants was bartender Laura Carton (27), who was sparring against Sabrina Mason.
Ms Carton won her first ever fight a few weeks ago after taking up the sport in March.
Donations can be made through idonate.ie/merryn.