Monday 16 December 2019

Irish heroine

• As the strains of 'Amhran na bhFiann' rang out from my television set on Saturday morning, the action of the previous 10 minutes in Shanghai made me immensely proud to be Irish. Katie Taylor, world lightweight champion (for the fourth time).

Too often we celebrate heroic failures as apparent victories so it is wonderful to hail a real champion in her sport -- one who always lives up to the hype.

It was certainly a nervous experience watching the first two rounds of a highly technical and cagey contest, where Katie and her Russian opponent (herself a double world champion) matched each other punch for punch.

Katie maintained her composure and impressive technique to finish a four-point winner in a contest that was an excellent advertisement for the sport.

Thankfully, it was possible to watch the fight live, something that has shamefully not been the case for many of Katie's heroic exploits over the years.

As a keen boxing fan, I had the privilege of watching our soft-spoken Irish hero in an exhibition match a number of years ago and was simply overwhelmed by the pugilistic skill, the breathtaking speed and the unyielding focus that she demonstrated to fight fans on that night.

The music that echoed around the arena on Saturday said it all... "Simply the Best!"

Mark Lawler
Kilmainham, D8

Irish Independent

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