Katie down but not out
Taylor's Rio journey hits stormy waters after suffering her first championship defeat since 2006
Katie Taylor's planned Olympic defence could be back on course if she wins a third-place box-off in the Black Sea port of Samsun tomorrow.
But the world's best female lightweight of the last ten years may struggle to recapture the aura of old after coming out on the wrong side of a unanimous verdict against Yana Alekseevna in the Olympic qualifiers yesterday. Taylor's first Championship defeat since 2006 means that she has, as yet, no guarantee of getting to Rio.
Beat a Bulgarian opponent tomorrow, however, and Olympic qualification could be secured should the two finalists in Samsun also make the last four at next month's World Championships. A more secure route to Rio might be Taylor making the last four herself in that tournament in Kazakhstan next month when she will seek a sixth consecutive world title.
But this is an uncertainty Taylor is not accustomed to, having recorded 63 consecutive victories prior to yesterday's bout.
The continued absence of father and chief mentor, Peter, from her corner may be a factor, given that he was absent too in '06 when Katie lost a European Union quarter-final.
Katie was mildly unlucky to lose yesterday to Alekseevna, a hard-hitting counter-puncher representing Azerbaijan. She rallied well in the second and fourth rounds but was deemed a 37-39 loser on all three judges' cards.