Tuesday 12 December 2017

Katie Taylor's dad Pete takes 'break' from her corner

Katie Taylor with her father and coach Pete Taylor on their return from the 2015 Baku European Games
Katie Taylor with her father and coach Pete Taylor on their return from the 2015 Baku European Games
Pete Taylor embraces his daughter

Bernard O'Neill

For the first time in over 10 years Katie Taylor will not have her father Pete in her corner when she fights for an Irish title tonight.

The Olympic champion meets Tipperary southpaw Shauna O'Keeffe for the vacant Irish lightweight title at the National Stadium in Dublin, but her brother Lee and interim Irish head coach Zaur Antia will be working her corner for the 60kg decider.

Taylor junior has won 18 major titles since 2005 with her dad as chief seconds. One Olympic, five World, and 12 European, European Union and European Games gold medals have been claimed.

One of the most iconic images from the London 2012 Olympics was Taylor running back to her corner to hug her dad and Antia after she beat Russia's Sofya Ochigava in the 60kg final.

But her dad won't be in her corner tonight and he may not be calling the shots for the Olympic qualifiers in Istanbul, Turkey next April or the World Championships in Kazakhstan next May.

"I'm taking a break from the corner," said Pete Taylor, while speaking to Irishtimes.com.

"After years it can be stressful watching your daughter fight.

"But I'll be there in the crowd in the front. We are trying new things at the moment so we'll see how it goes this time."

Martin Fennessy and Robert Scanlon will be calling the shots in O'Keeffe's corner as the 21-year-old becomes the first Irishwoman to challenge Taylor, 29, for a title.

"Katie Taylor is an icon. To share the ring with her is a dream come true and I intend to show Ireland what I can do against the woman that put boxing on the map," O'Keeffe said.

Eight women's Elite finals will be decided at the National Stadium tonight.

Irish Independent

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