Friday 20 April 2018

Katie: 'It's not the money, I would love to fight pro in Croker'

RING MASTER: Katie sparring before her Karina Kopinska fight
RING MASTER: Katie sparring before her Karina Kopinska fight
Niamh Horan

Niamh Horan

Katie Taylor says her decision to turn professional wasn't motivated by money and as she embarks on a new life in the toughest and probably most ruthless sport of all she will move forward without her father, Pete, at ringside.

She also remains bitterly disappointed about not achieving that second gold medal in Rio last summer.

"I don't know. It doesn't matter who is in your corner really. If the judging isn't fair in those competitions, nobody can do anything about it at the end of the day. And if those decisions had gone my way - we would be having a completely different conversation here. So people have to realise that as well,'' she said.

"It's a different chapter. I have great people around me, great family around me.

"The whole year has been disappointing all round," Katie said, adding that she needed a change.

Her recent time in America - training with new coach Ross Enamait - "brought the spark back in me again".

Taylor will make her professional debut this Saturday when she faces Karina Kopinska in London.

As an amateur, Katie won five world titles, six European titles and Olympic gold in London. When asked if she feared the spark had gone, she replied: "I think I fell out of love a small bit with the sport over the last year."

She blamed the fact that she has been in the amateur game for too long and said she "just needed a bit of a change".

The last time we met, I showed her a long list of her major wins and wondered if she would be able to handle a loss when it came along.

"I would love to be sitting here today as a two-time Olympic champion,'' she said.''But it just wasn't meant to be really."

She is known for her strong belief in God and sporting disappointment didn't test her faith. It is her fervent belief that God has made her who she is. "I'm not angry. I wouldn't be in the position I am today without God.

''Just because you proclaim how great God is doesn't mean life is going to go smoothly for you. 'Life is full of ups and downs for anyone and God is still great regardless of whether I win competitions or not.

"I know that the scripture itself says 'you may have many trials and temptations in life and sometimes it's just about perseverance and perseverance produces character and character produces hope and hope never fails'.''

Of course the decision to turn pro also means money. However, she says the money is not her main motivator.

"It's obviously important to be financially secure… but I wouldn't say it's something which motivated me changing over. I think I made quite a good living … and I was just looking for new challenges and new goals… I had to go where I was more passionate about."

Sky has committed to Katie for three years, with up to eight fights per year, and her new goals are the stuff dreams are made of - headlining shows in Croke Park and the O2, a fight in Madison Square Garden.

In her own words: "I would take everyone on."

Sunday Independent

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