Tuesday 6 December 2016

'I've always learned from defeat and this one will be no different'

Michael Verney

Published 22/04/2016 | 02:30

Katie Taylor with her mum Bridget after being unveiled as ambassadors for P&G’s ‘Thank You Mum’ campaign. Photo: Marc O'Sullivan
Katie Taylor with her mum Bridget after being unveiled as ambassadors for P&G’s ‘Thank You Mum’ campaign. Photo: Marc O'Sullivan

Defeat is something Katie Taylor has had to deal with just eight times throughout her glittering career but she has always bounced back from it with a bang. And she's confident her latest loss will get a similar response.

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Taylor's aura of invincibility was dented by her unanimous points reversal to Yana Alekseevna last week at the Olympic Qualification Tournament in Samsun but the Bray lightweight believes it could be a blessing in disguise.

As she bids to regain her winning edge at next month's World Championship, Taylor's eyes have been opened as she chases a sixth world title in Astana, and more importantly a place in Rio to defend her Olympic crown.

The 29-year-old admits she was never one to concentrate too much energy on her opponents but now she feels the time is right to employ more video examination of prospective competition to expose any possible flaws.

"It's only when you suffer a loss you start analysing a few things," Taylor said at P&G's launch of the 'Thank You, Mum' campaign. "Obviously over the last few years I was winning these fights and when you're winning the fights you don't really look at the things you're doing wrong.

"(When you lose) You look at the fight more closely, you look at what you're doing wrong more closely as well. I've always looked a little clips of opponents here and there. Maybe I'll just try to analyse it a bit more and see what I'm doing wrong and just learn from those.

"It's probably a good thing to study and look at opponents and see where their weaknesses are and see where I can exploit them. It's probably about taking things into my own hands too."

A familiar foe, Czech Republic's Sofya Ochigava, will also be sought as a sparring partner with Taylor and coach Zaur Antia looking to book their place in Rio. Ochigava, who is rumoured to be turning professional, famously defeated her in 2010 and the Bray star believes her old rival would leave her at peak fitness ahead of her date with destiny.

"I think they all model themselves on Ochigava, those south paws. We've been in touch with her and her coach and it would be great to get that quality of sparring in," she said. A bit of training with her would be fantastic. It would be great preparation for me."

Reaction

With her status as one of the leading female boxers in the world comes a lot of pressure but Taylor feels the loss has removed some of the expectations off her shoulders. It has strengthened her resolve and she's convinced it will provide another positive reaction.

"People have the perception that it's easy for me going into these competitions, that it's a given that I've qualified. But I suppose people realise now it's not as easy as it looks," she said.

"I think in some ways it will take the pressure off me a small bit. You do definitely learn from those losses. I've analysed it a lot and I know what I need to work on. It's obviously very disappointing but it's a good time for it to happen.

"I've had losses in the past and I've always come back stronger from those losses, I've always learned from them and this one is going to be no different. In the end I think it's going to be a good thing."

After her 2011 Strandja Cup defeat to Denitsa Eliseeva she left her bronze medal in her hotel and Taylor admits to not knowing where her recently acquired bronze is.

"It's probably at the bottom of my bag somewhere," she said. "It's definitely not going to be displayed anywhere in the house. It was a horrible feeling stepping up and looking at somebody else's flag going up. It's not a nice place to be in."

Irish Independent

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