Thursday 29 September 2016

I'm not finished yet, vows Taylor

Sean McGoldrick in Rio

Published 16/08/2016 | 02:30

Katie Taylor of Ireland looks dejected after her defeat to Mira Potkonen of Finland in their Lightweight quarter-final bout. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Katie Taylor of Ireland looks dejected after her defeat to Mira Potkonen of Finland in their Lightweight quarter-final bout. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Katie Taylor has vowed to continue boxing despite her shock loss to 35-year-old mother-of-two Mira Potkonen in the Olympic quarter-final yesterday.

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"I'm not finished yet, that's for sure," declared an emotional Taylor moments after surrendering her lightweight title in controversial circumstances.

After 12 days of unrelenting hammer blows this was the biggest setback on all to the Irish boxing squad in Rio.

With one judge favouring Taylor and another voting for Potkonen, the Bray woman's fate was effectively sealed by 56-year-old Ecuadorian official Clemente Carrillo when he sided with the Finn after scoring the fight level.

A below-par performance from Taylor, particularly in the opening two rounds, left enough doubt in two of the judges' minds to enable them to side with Potkonen who, like Taylor, won a bronze medal at the World championships two months ago.

A dignified Taylor was close to tears when she reflected on the most significant defeat in a distinguished career in which she has captured 18 championship gold medals.

"I'm just so humbled by the prayers said for me during the week. I don't think I would have been in this position, going into my second Olympic Games if it wasn't for that support," she said. "If it wasn't for my incredible family, my church family. . .

"I'm just sorry I couldn't come home with a second Olympic gold medal."

But Taylor's form has dipped considerably since her long-term coach and father Pete departed her corner late last year. Since then she has suffered high-profile losses in the final of an Olympic qualifier, the semi-final of the World championships and now the Olympics.

Read more: Vincent Hogan: Boxing's biggest blow of all has roots in Walsh exit

World champion Michael Conlan is now the only Irish boxer left in the tournament. He bids for a place in the semi-final and the guarantee of a bronze medal today (3.30pm).

Meanwhile, in a response to claims made by assistant Irish coach John Conlan that he hadn't seen Michael O'Reilly for eight weeks prior before the squad departed to a training camp in Rio, the Irish Athletic Boxing Association last night clarified the boxer's movements in that time frame.

They confirmed that between June 2 and June 26, O'Reilly - who was sent home after failing a dope test - attended a training camp in Baku with the rest of the team, then trained at Portlaoise BC.

Read more: Kenneth Egan: Katie has nothing to prove to anyone and should walk away

Irish Independent

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