Friday 15 December 2017

Boxing: Fans boost for Taylor as unknown Russian beckons

KATIE TAYLOR will take a step into the unknown tonight when she takes on Anastasia Belyakova in the quarter-finals of the AIBA World Women's Championships in Barbados.

"I don't know much about the Russian girl, to tell the truth, but you have to be good to get your place on the Russian team," said Katie's coach and dad Peter. "We'll do our homework on her and we're preparing for a tough bout."

Taylor, bidding to win the title for the third time in a row, advanced to the last eight with a magnificent 20-5 win over multiple Pan-American champion Adrian Araujo of Brazil on Monday, despite having to take a bizarre standing count in the fourth round.

"That (the standing count) was an absolutely ridiculous decision," said Taylor senior. "Both of them threw a punch at the same time and it was the Brazilian girl who should have taken a count, not Katie. We were shocked at the decision.

"It's unbelievable, really, isn't it? Katie is a four-time European champion, a three-time European Union champion and a two-time World champion and here she is again in the quarter-finals. What other Irish athlete has ever achieved that?"

Taylor will once again be cheered on by an army of supporters.

"There were lots of Irish at the fight and they really made themselves heard. I don't know where they came from but their support was a great boost," said Taylor senior.

Meanwhile, Allana Murphy and Sinead Kavanagh bowed out of the championships in the last-16 stage despite brave performances.

Murphy, of the Eastside BC in Belfast, was beaten 21-4 by reigning light-welterweight champion Gulsom Tatar of Turkey, while Drimnagh middleweight Kavanagh went down to Ll Jinzi of China 9-3. Kavanagh had been reinstated in the championships when Tunisian puncher Wided Younsi, who beat her in their last-32 bout, was disqualified after admitting that she once boxed professionally.

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