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Taylor on verge of third boxing crown

BOXING champ Katie Taylor is in the final round of the World Women's Championships for the third time.

The Bray fighter knocked up an 18-16 win against American lightweight Queen Underwood in a nail-biting semi-final in Barbados last night.

Taylor (24) is now within one win of her 10th international gold medal in nine years.

The Bray boxer made a blistering start to the bout and built up a 6-0 advantage in the opening round.

During the second round she had little difficulty stretching the advantage to 10-2 by the halfway point.

But in the third round there were signs that Taylor was tiring as the Washington boxer sparked into life.

Underwood scored four points after the Irish boxer received two public warnings for holding and the American took the lead in the fourth and final round.

And Underwood caught Taylor off guard with some ferocious hits and at one point the scoreline read 16-16.

But in a last-gasp effort, the St Fergal's fighter managed to deliver some shots to secure a very narrow win in the last few seconds of the contest.

The victory was the World Boxing Champion and Irish football International's 99th from 105 bouts since 2001.

If she goes on to win this evening, then her 100th career win will bring her a third world title.

The Irish lightweight's march towards retaining the world crown begins at 8pm Irish time as the competition including over 300 boxers representing 75 nations draws to a close.

She'll meet China's Cheng Dong in the battle for the title this evening.

Katie's coach and dad Peter said that the pair have done their homework assessing the weaknesses and capabilities of her potential opponents throughout the series.

He said he was incredibly proud that his daughter, a four-time European champion, a three-time European Union champion and a two-time world champion, is once again in the finals.

"It's unbelievable, really, isn't it?" he said. "What other Irish athlete has ever achieved that?"