Boxing: Overjoyed Katie returns home to a hero's welcome
KATIE Taylor, the golden girl of Irish boxing -- complete with her latest Euro gold medal in hand -- arrived home to a hero's welcome at Dublin Airport last night.
She was mobbed by family, friends and supporters, after having boxed her way to a fifth European lightweight title in a row, following a confident win over Russian two-time world champion Sofya Ochigava.
"Sofya is one of the best opponents I have ever met and I'm absolutely thrilled with the win. I can't believe it really. I would like to thank my dad and coaches and the entire Irish squad for their fantastic support all week," said an overjoyed Taylor.
She also credited her faith as being a pillar of strength throughout her gruelling sporting achievement.
"I wouldn't have been able to do it without God. It is very demanding mentally to have five fights in six days," she said.
The Irish three-time world champion was rarely troubled at this year's championships in Rotterdam before being handed a 10-5 decision over the Russian following four two-minute rounds in Saturday's final.
Taylor's dad and coach, Peter Taylor, reckoned they got their tactics spot-on.
"We studied all of Ochigava's fights out here this week and the important thing was that Katie remained patient. We're absolutely delighted with the win and to be taking home gold," he beamed.
Overall, Taylor turned in a pulsating performance having galvanised the entire Irish squad to sing her to victory -- her fifth in six days at this year's event.
"Katie is boxing at another level than was the case at last year's event and she was absolutely exceptional. The entire squad are on a high after this win and we're absolutely thrilled," said Irish team manager Anna Moore.
The decision was also sweet revenge for Taylor as she was judged to have been beaten by Ochigava in the Czech Republic in March last year. During the fight Taylor once again showed she is a super tactician in the ring, resisting provocations by the Russian to "mix it".
The Bray woman, who has also represented Ireland at soccer, has now won three World, five European and four European Union titles.
Full report: Sport P60