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Thursday 21 August 2014

Taylor keen to build on Olympic success

Published 21/02/2013 | 16:21

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Katie Taylor's, pictured, bout with Karolina Graczyk marks the start of a busy week

Ireland's boxing heroine Katie Taylor will return to the ring for the first time since her Olympic triumph when she faces Poland's Karolina Graczyk at the National Stadium in Dublin on Friday.

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Taylor's bout will act as a support to 13 Elite Championships finals which will be decided on the night, including a third consecutive light-heavyweight clash between Joe Ward and 2008 Olympic silver medallist Ken Egan.

Her bout with Graczyk marks the start of a busy week for Taylor, who will also fight Germany's Maike Kluener at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre in the city on Sunday evening.

Taylor has picked up a number of awards since her raucous Olympic win at the ExCel in London, but she has done her best to stay out of the limelight and her comeback has been kept deliberately low-key.

Taylor said: "It's all been a bit of a whirlwind and it's been such a busy time. It seems everyone knows who I am now but I've never been interested in being a celebrity, so that has taken some adjusting to.

"I'm still only 26 and I feel I have things to prove and things to achieve in the sport. I'm constantly learning in the gym and looking to improve. I always set myself goals and I want to retain that Olympic title in Rio in 2016 and retain my European and world titles as well, so I'm hungrier than ever to keep improving."

The Bray fighter was left disappointed last month when Ireland's bid to host the 2013 Women's European Championships were scuppered by the sport's governing body, who decided to delay the event until 2014.

Instead, Taylor's target for the year is likely to be the European Union Championships in Hungary in June, with a further build-up bout already scheduled to take place in Dublin next month.

Ward's bout with Egan is the other highlight of a packed card, with Egan, beaten in the last two finals by Ward, bidding to become the first man to win 11 Elite Championships titles.

Olympic silver medallist Michael Conlan is also in action as he faces Chris Phelan for the Irish flyweight title. Another Olympian, Adam Nolan, takes on Willie McLaughlin in the welterweight final.

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