Boxing: Katie eyes third world title
KATIE TAYLOR will be bidding for a third world title on the trot at the sixth AIBA Women's World Championships, which get under way with preliminary-round bouts at the Garfield Sports Gymnasium in Bridgetown, Barbados, today.
Taylor -- the current European and EU lightweight champion -- flyweight Ceire Smith, light-welterweight Allana Murphy and middleweight Sinead Kavanagh are representing Ireland in Barbados.
In a historic first for an Irish boxer, Taylor, who weighed in with the rest of the Irish squad yesterday, will read out the boxer's creed calling for fair play and sportsmanship at today's opening ceremony in the Caribbean island state. The 24-year-old Wicklow woman will be aiming for her 10th major international title, having won two World, four European and three European Union gold medals since 2001.
In that nine-year period she has won 95 bouts from 101 and, if she wins five contests en route to gold in Bridgetown, her 100th victory will tie in with her third AIBA World title victory since 2006.
"I hope all those maths work out," said Peter Taylor, who will be working his daughter's and the Irish squad's corner along with Zuar Antia.
"The entry level alone tells us that this is going to be a very competitive tournament and the Irish team will have their work cut out against some of the best boxers in the world."
The tournament will not act as an Olympic qualifier -- the seventh AIBA Women's World Championships in Chongqing, China, in early 2012 will be the only qualifier for female fighters for the London 2012 Games. However, Taylor Snr believes the Barbados event will be just as intense as the Chinese equivalent.
"I think that anyone winning a medal in Barbados will definitely have earned it, as women's boxing is now a very competitive international sport, especially since it was announced as an Olympic event," he said.
Meanwhile, the Irish coach is not reading too much into the absence of Sofya Ochigava from the Russia team. Ochigava controversially beat Taylor -- her first defeat in three years -- in the Czech Republic last March.
With Ochigava out, Taylor's main opponents will be Aussie Claire Ghabrial, Pan-American champ Adriana Araujo of Brazil, North Korea's Ryu Yong Sim and Asian champ Mavzuna Choriyeva of Tajikstan.
"This is the World Championships and every boxer will raise their game for this tournament," Taylor said. "Everyone has a chance and no one can be taken for granted -- that's the way we'll be looking at it from the first bout."
A record number of 306 boxers from 75 nations will be competing in the championships.
Elsewhere, David Haye has vowed to banish Audley Harrison from Britain by "violating" and "embarrassing" his bitter enemy into retirement on November 13. WBA heavyweight champion Haye announced yesterday that his second title defence will be against his former friend before lashing out at Harrison with a string of insults.
Having failed to agree a unification showdown with either of the Klitschko brothers, south London fighter Haye was short of viable alternative opponents.
Indeed, he believes California-based Harrison is not a worthy world title challenger and at a heated press conference promised to "violate" and "embarrass" the 2000 Olympic gold medal champion when they meet at Manchester's MEN Arena.
"I just want to close the show once and for all. I don't want people to bring up his name again," said Haye. "When I'm walking down the street, when I'm in the shops, people are saying, 'when are you going to fight Audley Harrison? When are you going to shut him up? All he ever does is talk.'
"Well now the opportunity is here, it's now. This one's for the British public. They've heard him jabbering on for nearly 10 years about what he's going to achieve and he's got his chance now.
"And I'm going to violate him so badly on such a big public platform that he'll have nowhere else to go but back to Los Angeles. I'm going to embarrass him."