Sunday 27 May 2018

Pete Taylor: I never heard of Katie's opponent

Katie Taylor (left) and Monica Gentili at yesterday’s weigh-in ahead of tonight’s fight. Photo: John Walton/PA
Katie Taylor (left) and Monica Gentili at yesterday’s weigh-in ahead of tonight’s fight. Photo: John Walton/PA

Barry Lennon

Pete Taylor admits he has never heard of his daughter's opponent tonight - but doesn't expect Katie to have any problems.

The London 2012 gold medallist faces Monica Gentili on the undercard to David Haye v Tony Bellew, with the 39-year-old Italian having won six of her 12 professional fights.

"I don't know anything about her (Gentili). I didn't even know the opponent was announced because I'm not involved anymore," he says.

"But look, whoever they put Katie with, she's got so much experience and is training very hard now, I don't think she'll have any problems."

Unlike her two previous professional fights, Taylor's contest will be the lightweight category which allowed her yesterday to weigh in at a career high of 134.2lbs. During her amateur career all her fights were at 132lbs.

Gentili was slighter heavier than Taylor tipping the scales at 134.9lbs just inside the 135lb limit.

Pete has been impressed by the improvement his 30-year-old daughter made since her disastrous defeat to Mira Potkonen at last year's Olympics in Brazil.

"She was really fatigued in Rio. When you get to 30, you've really got to monitor your training. It's so easy to over-train, which is what I thought they did in Rio," he observes. "But she looked in good condition for the last two pro fights. The standard of the opposition is going to step up as she moves along. But if she really comes in on form, I don't think there's a girl out there that can beat her."

Taylor admits that before Katie went pro he "didn't think much" of women's professional boxing.

His opinion changed with the involvement of big names such as Nicola Adams, Sofya Ochigava and talk of his daughter fighting at Wembley, which he says would be a "step up for women's sport".

While Taylor enjoys the prospect of fighting in front of a 90,000-strong London crowd in April, the amateur game suffers after an exodus of boxers.

"We've no amateurs here really at the moment asides Joe Ward, Darren O'Neill, as all the top names have gone pro," Pete laments.

"The male boxers were so sickened after the Olympics. But that's not the Irish Amateur Boxing Association's fault, it's the judges."

Taylor believes the Amateur International Boxing Association's response to controversial decisions at last year's Games has served only to "paper over the cracks".

He calls for the re-introduction of computer scoring as "at least then everybody has to put their hand up."

"The judging was terrible and every year they (AIBA) are changing the rules. They're taking headgear off, putting it on. I don't think they know where they are," he says.

Last year's controversy and the departure of coaching staff, including Taylor, Billy Walsh and most recently Eddie Bolger, has not helped.

"After what Katie achieved, we should be the stronghold of female boxing in Europe at least," Pete adds. Following these troubles he says he "can't see much of a future" for the amateur game. It seems Katie went pro at the right time.

Pete himself has taken a step into the unknown - beginning his third month in the cafe trade.

His new eatery KO Fit Food Co in Bray focuses on athletes' nutrition after he spotted a gap in the market.

"I was always eating out and it's actually hard to get healthy food if you want to train for anything, so I just had the idea," he says. "We get a lot of fighters that come down. Thai boxing, MMA, everything and a lot of people from the gyms as well. "

Not content with just one new business, he opened up a tanning salon above the cafe this week.

"I've never got involved with the likes of the cafe or this thing (tanning salon). It'll be interesting," he adds.

Meanwhile, David Haye weighed-in nearly one stone heavier than his bitter rival Tony Bellew for their much anticipated showdown.

Bellew tipped the scales at 15st 3lbs, while the 36-year-old former heavyweight champion recorded the third heaviest weight of his career at just over 16 stone.

Elsewhere, former European amateur gold medallist Ray Moylette makes his professional debut tomorrow night at a trade show in London. The Mayo native takes on Slovakian champion Ivan Godar (37) who has won just 17 of his 41 professional contests.

  • David Haye v Tony Bellew, Live, Sky Box Office, from 6.0

Irish Independent

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