Boxing: Taylor delight as victory puts Olympic spot within reach
KATIE TAYLOR will qualify for the London Olympics if she wins her bout today and other results go her way at the Women's World Championships in Qinhuangdao, China.
Taylor, who is aiming for her fourth world title in a row, opened her campaign with a comfortable last-32 victory over Rim Jouini yesterday. The Bray lightweight forced the 2010 African Games gold medalist and Tunisian champion into standing counts in rounds one and two en route to a 19-6 decision.
Jouini, however, won't be too disappointed at crashing out to the world No 1 as she still qualified for the Olympics. Because of the convoluted qualification system in place at the World Championships, Olympic places are distributed on a continental quota system.
There was a lightweight place available for Africa and Jouini takes it as she was the only African left in the last 32.
New Zealand's Alexis Pritchard, who was beaten by Queen Underwood of the USA, also qualified for Olympics as there is also one place available at for Oceania at lightweight.
Meantime, Taylor will meet Saida Khassenova of Kazakhstan between 8.0 and 10.0 this morning (Irish time) for a place in the quarter-finals.
Cavan flyweight Ceire Smith, who has won two fights so far, will face Poland's former world and European champion Anna Michalczuk this morning.
Three Olympic places each are available for European boxers in both Smith's flyweight and Taylor's lightweight classes.
Seven European boxers, including Taylor, will be in action in today's lightweight last-16 duels, while there are nine Europeans remaining in Smith's category.
If everything goes according to the form book, four Europeans, including Taylor, should be left fighting for the three Olympic berths.
England's Natasha Jonas, however, will have her work cut out against India's Sarita Laishram, who beat No 2 seed Gulsum Tatar, a two-time world champion, yesterday.
Yesterday's victory was the 126th in Taylor's 133-bout career.
"It was a good start and it's always great to get the first fight out of the way and the first win under the belt. Katie is delighted to get up and running with a victory," said her dad and coach, Pete Taylor.
"I only managed to see one round of the Kazakhstan girl. She's tall and awkward and she's tricky. She has come down from 64 kilos.
"Katie is not thinking about qualifying for the Olympic Games -- all she's thinking about is winning her fourth world title, to tell you the truth. We're just trying to take each bout one at a time, treat each one as if it's a final."