Monday 29 May 2017

Exclusive: 'Katie looked frail and the boxers were all overtrained' – Pete Taylor

Mr Taylor says watching Katie lose that contentious verdict to Potkonen on Monday was 'a nightmare'. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Mr Taylor says watching Katie lose that contentious verdict to Potkonen on Monday was 'a nightmare'. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Vincent Hogan

Vincent Hogan

Olympic boxer Katie Taylor's father has hit out at the management and coaching of the defeated boxing team in Rio.

In an exclusive interview with the Irish Independent, Pete Taylor says his daughter looked "frail" and the team all "looked overtrained".

Mr Taylor was a member of Katie's coaching team when she won gold at London 2012. This week, he was abroad while watching his daughter's defeat to Finland's Mira Potkonen in her first bout in defence of her Olympic title.

But he is unwilling to talk about the changed circumstance of their relationship, preferring to keep family matters private.

Read more: Eamon Carr: Katie Taylor hasn't been the same boxer since her father left her corner

Mr Taylor says watching Katie lose that contentious verdict to Potkonen on Monday was "a nightmare".

"I thought Katie looked frail compared to how she usually looks. But every one of them looked overtrained.

"Again, you could see the tactics were absolutely terrible. No matter what the scoring is, boxing is boxing. You hit them, they don't hit you. I mean tactics won Katie the Olympic final in London, that's absolutely certain. But you can't control what the judges are doing, so you've just got to fight your own fight," he says.

Mr Taylor is critical, too, of the fact that all three High Performance coaches, Zaur Antia, John Conlan and Eddie Bolger, travelled to Rio with the seven male boxers, given that Katie was not with them as the female tournament started a full week later.

"No one stayed behind with Katie to help with the preparation," he reveals.

"Would it have been that big a deal for one of the coaches to stay behind?"

Mr Taylor feels Katie won Monday's fight, just as it is his view that she also won the two fights earlier this year, which she lost to end a remarkable 11-year stretch as the world's finest female lightweight boxer.

Mr Taylor suggests the eight-strong team that went to Rio was hopelessly overtrained. "Every one of our boxers looked tired," Taylor told me this week. "They all looked overtrained. And everyone could see that the tactics were poor.

"You could see them being told to 'dominate, dominate, dominate'. But that's not what boxing is all about. It's simple, you go out and box. Hit your opponent more than you get hit. The best team we've ever sent away to the Olympics and it's been a shambles.

"But it (High Performance) has been falling apart since London. The timing of Billy Walsh going left it in a mess."

*Today in 'Review' in the Irish Independent - read the full interview with Pete Taylor

Irish Independent

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