Boxing: Taylor cruises into semi-finals as O'Hara guarantees silver
KATIE TAYLOR cruised into the semi-finals of the EU Women's Senior, Youth and Junior Championships in Hungary with an inside-the-distance win over the host nation's Benke Sara.
Sara took standing counts in the second and third rounds and the referee stopped it in the fourth, with the Hungarian lightweight taking further punishment on the ropes.
Belfast's Kristina O'Hara and Kerry's Niamh Ball both won their youth semi-finals yesterday and both are guaranteed to be taking home at least silver from the tournament.
But there was last-eight and last-four disappointment for Kildare's Dervla Duffy, Belfast's Christine Gargan and Cork's Christine Desmond in Keszthely.
Yesterday's quarter-final win was Taylor's 136th victory from 143 outings – and her 52nd successive championship win – and her first under the new '10-point must scoring' system, which has replaced computer scoring.
The Bray woman, the reigning Olympic, world and European champion, is aiming for her fifth straight EU title in Hungary and will meet Finland's Mira Potkonen in the last four tomorrow.
"She (Sara) took a few counts. The fight should have been stopped earlier than the fourth," said Taylor's coach and dad Pete Taylor.
"This was Katie's first win under 10-point must scoring, although it didn't go to the judges because she stopped her in the fourth. It was a good win and a good start to the tournament.
"The Finnish girl (Potkonen) is a strong fighter. She only lost to Natasha Jonas (who was beaten by Taylor in the quarter-finals at the London Olympics) on a countback in the Gee Bee tournament after a draw. She likes to come forward and is strong and aggressive.
"With all due respect to the Hungarian, Katie could have fought again tomorrow.
"Today didn't take a whole lot out of her. The team are boxing very well under the conditions.
"It's very warm in the venue with no air conditioning.
"I thought that Dervla Duffy performed very well. She really sacrificed herself and I though she did enough to win it."