Boxing: Coach cools Katie expectation
FOUR-TIME Olympic medallist Sebastian Coe joined the Katie Taylor fan club yesterday, saying "she could be a star" of the London Olympics, writes Cliona Foley.
But even as the chairman of the London Olympic organising committee was bigging her up, Irish boxing's high performance head coach Billy Walsh was stressing that the Bray superstar is "only one punch away from defeat".
"There's a lot of expectation around Katie but she hasn't qualified yet," Walsh warned. "There's 10 days in China next May (World Championships) and if she's injured or out of form there she might suffer something similar to what happened her in Barbados (at the last World Championships).
"She got an injury, took too much difene, got diarrhoea, weighed in two kilos below her weight and nearly lost a fight. Anything is possible in sport, particularly in boxing. Katie's only one punch away from defeat."
British Olympic chief Coe was lavish in his praise for her yesterday, revealing: "I was chatting to the (international boxing president) Ching-Kuo Woo about her at our boxing test event recently and we both agreed that she's a talent."
Walsh described Taylor as "the best athlete Ireland has ever produced. Not one of our male boxers lives the high performance life that Katie lives. She prepares with the men, spars with the men and she's equal to them, sometimes better.
"There is huge expectation on Katie to win a gold medal," he added, warning that Taylor's Olympic dream has been made harder because so many other countries are now investing heavily in women's boxing.