KATIE Taylor oozed that special confidence and charisma that comes from landing Olympic gold as she strode through the National Stadium like a true champion.
The darling of the Irish sporting world had her ecstatic supporters feverish with excitement for her long-awaited return to the ring last night.
And she did not disappoint as she coasted to a comfortable win in her first fight since those never-to-be-forgotten golden moments in London.
The now familiar pre-bout shouts of "Katie, Katie'' shuddered through the old arena, even though there was also a distinct nervousness in the air.
This was, after all, her first foray into the ring since her great achievement in the Olympics.
And her Polish opponent Karolina Graczyk was rightly regarded as a doughty fighter.
It was also clear last night that the traditional National Stadium crowd in Dublin for the Irish Elite Boxing Championship finals had a special flavour.
Many supporters were really only interested in one boxer on the bill, despite there being several other bouts on the night.
The biggest fear among some fans was that the Bray woman might be a bit rusty.
"She has not fought for some time and that is a worry. But she's a true professional and always digs deep," said 19-year-old Sinead Ryan from Dun Laoghaire, adding that she took up the sport after watching Katie's heroic exploits in London.
Ireland's boxing heroine was her usual stoic self as she emerged from her dressing-room.
Prior to the dong of the first bell, Katie took a few moments to look around and soak up the atmosphere.
But the trademark deadpan expression soon returned, masking the steely determination of a champion.
Afterwards she said: "There is nothing like getting into the ring and getting the ringrust out.
Last night also saw Kenny Egan, another much-loved Irish gladiator of the ring, announce he was hanging up his gloves after an outstanding career in the ring.
Speaking of his 25-5 defeat, he said: "I'm glad I'm handing my mantle over to someone like (Joe Ward). He's a legend in his own right."