Saturday 10 December 2016

Taylor vows to put everything on the line as she chases historic gold

Bernard O'Neill

Published 26/05/2016 | 02:30

Katie Taylor. Photo: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE
Katie Taylor. Photo: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

The history books are beckoning for Katie Taylor in Central Asia and she's vowed to put it all on the line to edge a step closer to writing a chapter that will probably never be surpassed.

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The Olympic champion and Kellie Harrington are in semi-final action in Astana, Kazakhstan today looking to upgrade their guaranteed bronze medals to at least silver at the 9th World Women's Elite Championships.

Dublin light-welter Harrington, the only Irish female boxer to medal at this level besides Taylor, meets Canada's Sara Kali in the non-Olympic 64kg semi-final.

Taylor faces France's Estelle Mosselly, an opponent she beat in the 2013/14/15 European Union, European Elite and European Games finals.

Finland's Miro Potkonen and Russia's Anastasia Belyakova clash in the corresponding semi-final. The penultimate lightweight match-ups are an all-European affair. Taylor qualified for August's Olympics by virtue of reaching the last four.

The Bray woman is well aware that if she beats Mosselly for a fourth time today she'll be one victory away from becoming the first woman in the history of the sport to claim six successive World Elite gold medals in tomorrow's finals.

Dropped

"I'm going to do everything to make everyone proud again," said Taylor, who has not dropped a round in 12 rounds of boxing in her three wins in Astana so far.

"I have a chance to make history this week and to become a six-time world champion and I'm going to do everything I can to make that happen. Every single fight is tough.

"I have to be at the top of my game, but it's great to be in this position. It's great to be still in with a chance to defend my world title."

Harrington won't be at Rio 2016 because her 64kg class is not an Olympic weight. The Dubliner has been boxing out of her skin in Astana and has a glorious opportunity to reach an AIBA World Elite decider against Kali.

The Montreal native is the current Canadian champion.

Her best international performance - before securing at least bronze in Astana - was a silver medal win at the American Confederations in Venezuela in 2013.

"All my focus is on the reaching the final now," said Harrington."It's fantastic to reach the medals stages and have a medal in the bag, but the target is the final now."

Harrington versus Kali is the fifth fight on the first session which begins at 10am (Irish time) and Taylor versus Mosselly is the fifth fight on the second session which begins at 2pm (Irish time).

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