Monday 27 February 2017

In Brief: Taylor marches into Euro decider

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KATIE TAYLOR is just one bout away from securing her third European Union title in a row with a comfortable semi-final win over Juliana Rocha in Hungary yesterday.

Ireland's AIBA World and European champion clocked up her third win at the championships with a 9-3 verdict over the Pole in Keszthely.

The Bray woman will now meet Denica Eliseeva of Bulgaria in today's lightweight final -- in a repeat of the 2009 EU final in Bulgaria, which Taylor won 8-1 -- after racking up her 94th win from 100 bouts since 2001.

Taylor, who turned 24 last month, was 3-1, 5-2 and 8-2 up at the end of rounds one, two and three, respectively, and drew the final round 1-1 en route to victory.

Limerick southpaw Willie 'Big Bang' Casey will have a European title fight in mind when he climbs into the ring against Italian super bantamweight Emiliano Salvini at the City West Hotel in Dublin tonight.

Casey has won all his nine fights, six inside the distance, and is targeting the winner of the Kiko Martinez-Arsen Martiros Euro title fight in Dublin next month.

The City West show includes two reigning Irish champions, Mayo light heavyweight John Waldron and Dublin super middleweight Anthony Fitzgerald, and the Irish debut of Los Angeles-based Dublin light welterweight Dean Byrne.

Ireland's Dan Martin retained his yellow jersey after finishing seventh on the sixth stage of the Tour of Poland yesterday.

Bauke Mollema of Rabobank broke away inside the final three kilometres of the 228.5km mountain trip to take the penultimate stage while Martin's closest rival Grega Bole (Lampre-Farnese Vini) led a small chase group home, picking up some valuable bonus seconds to cut the Irishman's lead to just eight seconds.

Martin will be favourite to win the race today in what would be the biggest win of the 23-year-old's career.

Nikki Evans and Michelle Harvey struck second-half doubles for an experimental Irish team against Belgium at Belfield last night to end a 10-game losing streak with an impressive 4-0 victory.

After Jean McDonnell's long-range effort had been ruled out, Harvey started the rout in the 40th minute with a low bullet past the excellent Elizabeth Achten.

Evans doubled up three minutes later when she swept home calmly from six yards -- her first goal in Irish colours in her ninth international -- and she sealed the win in style eight minutes from time, outstripping Julie Scraeyen for pace before, one-on-one, rounding Achten to bag the third.

Harvey zipped home a fourth on the final hooter to embellish the scoreline further, wrapping up a positive night for the Irish women after a tough summer schedule.The sides meet again today at 4.0 and tomorrow at 12.0.

Details in Factfile

Irish Independent

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