Tuesday 12 December 2017

Boxing: Taylor setback as 42-bout unbeaten run crashes to halt

Bernard O'Neill

KATIE TAYLOR'S 42-bout unbeaten run was sensationally ended when she lost to former World champion Sofya Ochigava at the Usti nad Labem Gran Prix yesterday.

The Russian, who claimed featherweight (57kg) gold at last year's European Championships but has since moved up to lightweight, beat the Bray woman 8-1 in the semi-final over four two-minute rounds.

The last time Taylor, the reigning World, European and EU champion, lost was to Turkish puncher Gulsum Tatar in the Ahmet Comert Cup final in Istanbul on May 13, 2007.

IABA head coach Billy Walsh said that this was as good a time as any for Taylor to be beaten.

"It is virtually impossible to remain undefeated in amateur boxing and Katie has had an amazing run over the last few years," said Walsh.

"If there was a time to be beaten then this is it, two years out from the Olympic Games in London. The Russian girl is obviously quality opposition -- that's why we send our boxers to these tournaments. We'll take stock of this defeat when Katie returns.

"Katie has another couple of tournaments coming up before she defends her world title in Barbados later this year."

The new women's Olympic weight categories -- flyweight (48-51kg), lightweight (56-60kg) and middleweight (69-75kg) are in operation in Usti nad Labem.

Likewise, a number of world and continental champions at featherweight (57kg) and light-welterweight (64kg) will be moving up and down respectively towards Taylor's 60kg lightweight category.

Ochigava is a certainly a formidable opponent. She beat Ukrainian Julia Tsyplakova -- who Taylor defeated twice at the National Stadium in Dublin last Friday and Saturday -- in her European final and also claimed the boxer of the tournament award at the European Championships.

Elsewhere, Irish champion Eric Donovan outclassed world lightweight champion and AIBA world boxer of the year Domenico Valentino in last night's Ireland-versus-Italy clash at the National Stadium.

Donovan, who retained his lightweight title at the Stadium last weekend, produced a career-best performance to win 11-8.

Ireland's World Youth champion Ray Moylette was also in top form, enjoying a 10-0 victory over Vincenzo Manggiacapre -- the St Anne's clubman dominated from the opening bell.

Moate light-flyweight Gary Molloy lost out 7-2 to Vincenzo Picardi in the first light-flyweight bout of the evening, a 7-2 victory securing the decision for the 2008 EU bronze medallist.

Jimmy Moore, from the St Francis club in Limerick, was out-pointed 13-7 by Alex Ferramosca in the second light-flyweight duel of the night.

Philip Sutcliffe was edged out by Davide Cenciarelli in a three-round thriller, while Beijing Olympian John Joe Joyce cruised past the challenge of Diego Di Luisa in a one-sided welterweight affair to leave Ireland 5-3 up with four bouts remaining.

The two nations will meet again tomorrow night at the Donegal Celtic Club in Belfast.

Irish Independent

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