'You had to mention Rio' - Taylor adamant Olympic nightmare is forgotten as she embarks on professional adventure
It was impossible to peel the smile away from Katie Taylor as she held court with the Irish media backstage at Wembley Arena on Saturday night.
A little over half an hour after her hugely impressive stoppage of Polish challenger Karina Kopinska in front of a noisy London crowd, Irish boxing’s golden girl was a vision of contentment.
The desperate, pained expression that plucked at the nation’s heartstrings following her miserable defeat at the Rio Olympics last summer seemed like a distant nightmare as the new Taylor emerged with all her familiar guns blasting with crisp perfection.
This was the Katie we all know and love. This is a sporting icon determined to take the professional boxing world by storm in the next few years. What a wonderful sight.
“You had to mention Rio,” she grumbled with a generous smile, as one inquisitor asked whether her first professional appearance had banished that miserable blot on her record once and for all.
“It has been a disappointing year and hopefully I can end this year on a high. I need to keep my head down for my next fight in a couple of week’s time and I can’t get carried away, but it was great to get back into the ring.
“Training has been going so well in the States over the last couple of months and I couldn’t wait to get in there and show what I could do.
“I felt very well prepared going in there and after all the training in America over the last couple of months, I felt very well prepared going in there. I wanted to enjoy the performance and it just felt great.
“You have to impress on your pro debut, you have to get everyone talking. If I want to be a headliner and fill out these stadiums in the future, you have to impress in every single fight.”
Taylor’s next date will be as one of the star fighters on the undercard of Anthony Joshua’s world heavyweight title defence against Eric Molina in Manchester, with a 21,000 sell-out crowd set to be on hand to witness the next step in her professional adventure.
“I have always wanted to be a history maker and break down a lot of barriers,” she added. “I think I have done that in amateur boxing and I think I have the platform to do it now in the pro ranks as well.
“We now have this next fight in two weeks time and I need to keep my head down, work hard in training over the next few days and make sure I’m ready.”
Taylor will base her brief training camp in Ireland in the next week before heading back to England for another round of media commitments ahead of her next date in the ring.
The excitement generated by her debut performance has already set pulses racing and we don’t have long to wait for chapter two of this compelling story.