Tuesday 17 September 2019

'It's a long shot... but I'd like it' - Kellie Harrington on one day fighting Katie Taylor

Kellie Harrington, left, says that should would like to eventually fight Katie Taylor (right), but that the odds are against it. Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Kellie Harrington, left, says that should would like to eventually fight Katie Taylor (right), but that the odds are against it. Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Will Slattery

Will Slattery

World amateur lightweight champion Kellie Harrington says that an eventual superfight against Katie Taylor is a 'long shot' - but that she would relish the chance to test herself against the Olympic gold medalist.

Harrington won the lightweight division at the 2018 world championships, in a weight class that Taylor claimed gold in five times during an illustrious amateur career.

Taylor, who also won the 2012 Olympic gold medal at lightweight, has since become a world champion in the professional ranks, picking up two belts en route to a perfect 12-0 record.

Harrington's goals over the next few years include qualifying for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, after which the possibility of one day fighting Taylor as a professional could become a reality.

Taylor is currently finding it difficult to find an opponent for her next fight, with Harrington joking that she would jump at the chance to fight for the money reportedly on offer.

However, speaking at the Irish Independent Sportstar of the Year awards, the Dubliner went on to explain why the odds are against a possible superfight with Taylor.

"I'd fight anybody for that!," she joked.

"She's professional, I'm amateur. She is trying to do her thing, I'm trying to do my thing. You are probably going to ask my if I will ever fight Katie... there's a possibility that I could and a big possibility that I won't. By the time I turn professional, she might be retired, who knows, and you can't just turn professional and fight Katie Taylor. I'm fighting three three-minute rounds, she is fighthing ten two-minute rounds so I'd need to gear myself up in fights before I fight her. It is a long shot but I would like it.

"Katie is a phenomenal athlete and a fantastic boxer and I was kind of up there with Katie but there weren't enough Olympic weight classes so she was going out to the Olympics.

"I never had the confidence to challenge Katie at the times when I probably should have. By the time I had got confidence, Katie had turned professional."

It has been a dream year for Harrington, who added a world gold to the silver she won at light welterweight in 2016, and she says that she never gave up hope of one day winning a major prize.

"I always thought that I could win a world title, it was just a case of when I could win it," Harrington said.

"I maybe didn't think I would win it this year but I knew I would get there or thereabouts. It was a matter of when."

Despite always believing that winning a world title was possible, Harrington admits that her achievement hasn't sunk in yet as she goes about resetting ahead of Olympic qualification.

"People are like, 'But Kellie, you are the number one in the world now. It hasn't really sunk in yet," she says.

"Whereas last year, I thought the world champion would definitely go to the Olympics, now I'm just like, 'ah, I'm going to try'. I'm just very grounded I suppose. I'm getting a lot more phonecalls and emails but my life hasn't changed at all. I wouldn't like it to change, I like it the way it is."

"That 's the next thing now, the Olympics but that's the long-term picture but there are smaller steps and then the Olympics will be upon us.

"Qualifying for that [is the goal] but I'm not looking too far ahead. Baby steps."

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