Monday 19 August 2019

'It hurt so much just because of how much I loved him' - Katie Taylor opens up on 'great relationship' with dad

Undisputed World Lightweight Champion Katie Taylor. Photo: Sportsfile
Undisputed World Lightweight Champion Katie Taylor. Photo: Sportsfile

Bernard O'Neill

Unified lightweight champion Katie Taylor has described her dad and former coach Pete Taylor as her hero and told CNN she wants another shot at Belgium's Delfine Persoon.

Arguably the greatest pound-for-pound female fighter of all time, Taylor recalled that there was uproar when it was discovered she was not a boy at amateur contests in the late 1990s.

Female amateur boxing was unheard of in Ireland at the time and Taylor used to disguise her gender and name to see some action, she explained to the CNN Special 'Undisputed'.

"I think I was the only female boxer in the country at a time, so I used to have to pretend I was a boy to get into these competitions," she recalled.

"I used to have my hair up in my headgear and I used to be known as 'Kay Taylor'. When I took the headgear off at the end of the fight and everyone realised I was a girl, there was uproar."

The jewel in the crown of the IABA's acclaimed high-performance unit, Taylor claimed 170 wins from 180 outings in the amateur ranks and 18 major titles under her dad, including Ireland's only Olympic gold this century.

She turned pro after Rio 2016 and took under three years to clean out the entire lightweight limit after she securing the IBF/WBO/WBC/WBA belts after 14 fights and 104 rounds of prizefighting under manager Brian Peters and coach Ross Enamait.

Shortly before the Rio Games, Connecticut-based Taylor was left distraught after her dad separated from her mother Bridget.

"I guess it hurt so much just because of how much I loved him as well. But I still have a great relationship with my dad. I still absolutely love him. He's always been a hero to me. And that will never change as well. But just to go through that was difficult for me."

Taylor also feels she beat Persoon legitimately to unify the lightweight class in June. The fight ended in a controversial majority decision to the Irishwoman, but many pundits believe Persoon deserved at least a draw.

"It's a very, very easy fight to score in my mind," insisted Taylor. "A lot of people had it 6-4 to me. Some people had it 5-all. But very, very few people, that I've spoken to, actually had her winning."

Now 33, Taylor says she'd love another shot at Persoon. "I look forward to beating her a little bit more convincingly," she said.

Irish Independent

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