Katie Taylor one step closer to Rio qualification after routine win in Turkey
OLYMPIC and World champion Katie Taylor has comfortably advanced to the quarter finals at the 2016 Rio qualifier in Samsun, Turkey.
Ominously though her big rival in the light weight category Yana Alekseevna had an equalling convincing win over local favourite Gulsum Tatar.
Barring a huge upset in the last eight Taylor and Alekseevna are set to clash in the semi-final on Friday with only the winner securing their place in Rio.
However, the loser will have another chance to make it to Rio at the women’s World championships in Kazakhstan in May. Taylor experienced minimum difficulty in disposing of Martina Schmoranzova from the Czech Republic winning all three rounds on the three judges’ cards to give her a unanimous 3-0 (30-27) win.
But Ukrainian born Alekseevna fashioned an equally emphatic 3-0 (3-27) win over the veteran Turkish lightweight Tatar who had beaten Taylor when the Bray pugilist was making their early forays into international women’s boxing.
At the 2012 pre-Olympic qualifying tournament which was also hosted by Turkey there was a series of what could be loosely described as ‘home town decisions.’
But despite her reputation and experience Tatar had no answer to the southpaw who now represents Azerbaijan and the judges weren’t swayed by the vocal support she received from the crowd.
Alekseevna has emerged as Taylor’s biggest rival in the last two years. In their last clash in the semi-final of the European Games in Baku last summer Taylor won on a majority decision after two of the judges gave her the nod – all three judges initially scored the contest 38-38.
The anticipated showdown on Friday promises to be an interesting as it is significant.
Meanwhile, Belfast flyweight Brendan Irwin won the first and third rounds of his contest against German champion Hamza Touba to make it through to the last eight.