BOXER Katie Taylor was on top of the world in China today when she became the World Lightweight Women’s Champion for the fourth time.
The 25-year-old Bray boxer beat Russian southpaw Sofya Ochigava in four rounds to claim the unprecedented achievement.
The win buys her into the quarter finals of the Olympic Games – a fact she was unaware of until after the fight.
She also won the best boxer award at the tournament.
President Higgins and the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, have both congratulated Taylor on her victory.
The Taoiseach issued a statement saying “This was another brilliant performance. Katie is an outstanding and true champion. She has made us all proud and lifted the heads of the Irish people.”
In a nerve racking final, Taylor beat tough opposition from the Russian 11-7 to become the best in the world – just two days after she secured her place in the Irish team for Olympics 2012 in London this summer.
Afterwards a delighted Katie Taylor admitted: “It was a tricky fight. It was just a game of patience and nerves in the end. Thank God for the victory. I’m delighted.”
Taylor, who was even at four points each with her opponent after round two, told RTE: “In those kind of fights you don’t know what is going to happen. One or two points makes the difference you have to have so much concentration and discipline. These kind of fights prove how great women’s boxing is.”
Taylor, who arrives back at Dublin Airport at 5.35pm tomorrow, said she can’t wait to get home to see her new niece who was born while she was away.
Her dad and coach Pete Taylor said before the fight that he believed it would be a 50/50 affair.
Taylor, who was seven points up going into the fourth and final round, forced the Tajik champion, a 2010 Asian Championships gold medalist, into a standing count in the last frame.
She rarely moved out of second gear, dominated yesterday's four-rounder and repeatedly found the target with basic, but very effective, right-jab, left-hook combinations.
She met her opponent shortly after 8.30am this morning in a repeat of the 2011 European final in Rotterdam which Taylor won 10-5 to secure her fifth European gold medal on the trot.
Ochigava (24) claimed AIBA World titles at 52kg and 54kg in 2005 and 2006 before moving up to the lightweight (60kg) Olympic category.
The Odintsovo-native set up today's rematch with Taylor after racking up an 18-10 win over England's Natasha Jonas in the other semi-final.