Sunday 25 June 2017

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

'She has achieved everything as an athlete: Olympic champion, numerous World Championships and European Championships. It will be tough to swallow this pill but I’m sure she’ll get over it and move on.' Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
'She has achieved everything as an athlete: Olympic champion, numerous World Championships and European Championships. It will be tough to swallow this pill but I’m sure she’ll get over it and move on.' Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Kenneth Egan

It was one of the biggest blows that Irish sport, let alone Irish boxing, has ever taken and after yesterday's heart-breaking loss I'd like to see Katie Taylor call it a day in the ring. She has nothing left to prove to anyone, including herself.

When you mention her name, it's synonymous with change. Katie changed how we look at female athletes, inspired a nation of both men and women, boys and girls, leaving an impression on everyone.

Don't forget that Katie is the reason why women's boxing was brought into the Olympics in London. They brought all of the head honchos over to watch her in an exhibition bout to highlight how good female fighters are and she dazzled them, just like she did all her opponents through the years.

She almost singlehandedly got a sport included in the Olympic calendar - that's the power she had, and her supremacy inside the ropes gave women's boxing a recognition that it could never have dreamed of.

As a person and a human being, she's a pleasure to work with and be around. She's a credit to her sport, a credit to her country, but I wouldn't like to see her going professional.

Achieved

She has achieved everything as an athlete: Olympic champion, numerous World Championships and European Championships.

It will be tough to swallow this pill but I'm sure she'll get over it and move on.

There's an underlying issue which needs to be addressed between her and her father Pete because that's really what her dip in form is about. She said that it's been a hard year for her with a lot of losses, but her hardest loss has been her dad.

Her last three defeats are an alien feeling to her, and not having her father in her corner to console her is a double whammy. It's hard to adjust when he's not there because he's been a huge part of her career.

Read more: I'm not finished yet, vows Taylor

She hasn't been herself at all for the last couple of months. I don't know if this whole episode has startled her because that mixture was working and since the split things have gone downhill.

Sitting watching the fight it could have gone either way but Katie was getting hit way too much, she was a sitting duck. She wasn't moving her head when throwing her right hand and her opponent hit her with the right hand every time she threw it.

That was her danger punch; I'm sure she was told that in the corner a thousand times but she kept walking into it. That's the type of standard punch that you shouldn't be getting hit with at Olympic level.

She said herself that girls like Mira Potkonen shouldn't be beating her but I didn't hear Katie arguing with the result. I heard Zaur Antia plead her case but it wasn't the Katie that we all know and love to watch.

Katie has girls in there with her now who are not showing her 100pc respect, they're thinking 'yeah, I have your number now' and that's a hard fight to win. Any girl in the Olympics wants to beat Katie Taylor, and all it takes is one boxer to beat you and it's open season.

The whole start to the Olympics with the doping incident should never have happened either and it's knocked everyone off their stride. How it was handled in Rio was a disgrace. Anything that could've gone wrong has gone wrong.

The big question is whether any of this would have happened under Billy Walsh's regime. I've noticed there has been a lack of discipline since Billy's departure - Michael O'Reilly was not a regular at training.

Maybe that is down to his coach, IABA president Pat Ryan, giving him some leeway but at the end of the day, that's not good for team morale. Everyone should be treated equally - all boxers on the floor at a specified time and there should be no exceptions for anyone no matter who their coach is.

People will be pointing fingers at the High Performance unit and what's going on behind those doors but it's drastically undermanned and we need to get more able bodies involved; it's too much for one man and Zaur has his hands full already.

All our eggs are in now Michael Conlan's basket. Today's opponent, Russian Vladimir Nikitin, beat Mick when he had just moved up to bantamweight but now that he's a fully fledged 56kg fighter and supremely confident, he should have the edge.

With an Irish heroine exiting, we need a new hero to step forward and Mick Conlan is the man.

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

Irish Independent

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