Boxing: Taylor treble on course
KATIE TAYLOR'S march toward her third AIBA World title in a row at the sixth AIBA World Women's Championships in Barbados would now appear to be one of almost routine inevitability.
The Bray woman cruised into today's semi-finals late Wednesday night after going through Russian lightweight Anastasia Balyakova for a short cut in Bridgetown, winning 16-1.
Wednesday's victory -- her third on the Caribbean island state -- took Taylor's points tally to 48 for and eight against at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex.
Balyakova also took two standing counts in the final frame as the 24-year-old Irish woman refused to drop the pace en route to capping her most clinical display of the championships so far.
Taylor, who is now guaranteed at least a bronze medal, will now meet Queen Underwood of the USA in today's 60Kg semi-final firmly on course to successfully defend her title.
Taylor beat Underwood 30-3 at the National Stadium in Dublin in February 2009 and then stopped the American in round two of their second meeting in Kildare a few days later to help Ireland beat the USA in a dual match.
But despite those margins of victory, Irish coach Peter Taylor, who is working his daughter's corner along with Ireland's Georgia-born coach Zuar Antia, won't be taking anything for granted.
"This is the World Championships and anything can happen. Boxers can raise their game and Underwood has improved a lot since she last met Katie in Ireland," said Taylor.
"We have a day off on Thursday and we will study the videos and do our homework. Katie was magnificent against the Russian girl. She's growing into the tournament and if she boxes like she did against the Russian girl then I can't see anyone stopping her.
"It will be another big challenge for Katie. She has beaten the American twice in the past, but this is a new chapter now and past results will mean nothing."
Taylor Snr also revealed that the Irish U-17 soccer team, who are competing in the World Cup in Trinidad and Tobago, presented Taylor, an Ireland senior international soccer player, and the boxing squad with an Irish shirt.
"They presented the Irish team with a signed shirt and the girls presented them with a signed Irish vest," he added. "Everyone with the Irish boxing squad wishes them the best in the World Cup."
Meanwhile, Wednesday's win was Taylor's 98th in 104 outings. If she wins her third World title in a row in Barbados it will correspond with her 100th win since 2001 and her 10th major international title in nine years.
The finals will be held tomorrow. China's Dong Cheng, who Taylor beat 13-2 in the 2008 World final in Ningbo City, China and Poland's Karolina Graczyk, who Taylor beat 9-3 at the EU Championships in Hungary last month, meet in the other semi-final.