'Katie's a natural' says sparring partner brother
Published 04/08/2012 | 05:00
HE is the Trinity lecturer who proves that boxing really does run in the blood of the Taylor family.
Dr Peter Taylor normally spends his days in the lecture halls of Ireland's oldest university, teaching mathematics.
But this weekend he will be in London to roar on his sister Katie in her crucial opening Olympic bout.
Dr Taylor has enjoyed success in the ring, having been a British/Irish university champion, an under-21s national silver medallist and the winner of two Leinster titles.
But then it is a passion that spans the whole family -- dad Pete was an All-Ireland champion, mum Bridget is a judge and brother Lee is an accomplished boxer.
"We joke that we've got more crystal than Waterford Crystal," said Dr Taylor, who is 18 months older than Katie. "My parents will have to build an extension for all the medals.
"Growing up, me and Katie trained together all the time. I was 11 and she was about 10 when she started. It was something completely natural for us to do.
"My dad was still competing, and my mum was a judge, and boxing was a big interest in the home."
While her brothers were able to enter contests, Katie found herself with no one to compete against -- a source of frustration for someone who thrived on putting her strength and skills to the test.
Dr Taylor said: "For the first few years, she didn't actually get any fights because there was no women's boxing at the time.
"We knew she was really talented, so it was only a matter of time before people realised it. She just loved the sport, she did it for pure love.
"She was much more natural compared with me or Lee. Not just from the skill perspective -- her mental strength from such a young age was phenomenal. She never shied away."
Dr Taylor will be in London with his wife Kim and their 12-week-old daughter Madeleine who graced newspaper front pages when she welcomed her famous aunt home from her world championships win in China last May.
The whole Taylor clan will be trying to calm their butterflies on Monday as they watch Katie take on the winner of tomorrow's bout between Britain's Natasha Jonas and Queen Underwood of the US.
"We're nervous and excited," said Dr Taylor. "We try our best to get to the major competitions, but it's not always possible. Katie likes to have her family and her supporters there."
Katie is one of two boxers representing her hometown of Bray at the Olympics, the other being Garda Adam Nolan, who is also coached by Pete.
Dr Taylor, who lives in Delgany, Co Wicklow, still makes frequent visits to his parents' home.
"We get a glimpse of the madness," he said. "We see the posters and all the attention Katie's getting. It's great for the town and the club and it's a real testimony to my dad that he got two boxers qualified."