Sunday 16 December 2018

World champion Katie Taylor rejects Colin Farrell's offer to walk her to the ring before title fight

Referee Steve Gray raises Katie Taylor’s hand in victory as she celebrates winning the WBA World Lightweight Title with mother Bridget Taylor and (inset) Colin Farrell at the fight
Referee Steve Gray raises Katie Taylor’s hand in victory as she celebrates winning the WBA World Lightweight Title with mother Bridget Taylor and (inset) Colin Farrell at the fight
Referee Steve Gray raises Katie Taylor’s hand in victory as she celebrates winning the WBA World Lightweight Title with mother Bridget Taylor. Photo: Sportsfile

Sean McGoldrick and Ian Begley

Katie Taylor rejected an offer by Colin Farrell to walk her to the ring for her World title showdown fight in Cardiff.

The Hollywood heartthrob was a surprise visitor to the Taylor dressing room prior to her clash against Anahi Esther Sanchez.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Taylor said: "It was great, meeting Colin, an absolute gentleman.

"He wanted to walk me into the ring but I said, 'No, it's OK'. Someone had told me he was going to be in the crowd. But I didn't know he was going to be in the dressing room. So it was a nice surprise. He wished me luck and we had a bit of small talk," said Taylor.

Her Irish manager Brian Peters reckoned she let him off the hook by not accepting his offer to lead her in the walk-on.

"It was actually really funny," he said. "Katie just looked at Colin and said, 'Thanks a million, but just sit down with your girlfriend and enjoy your night'.

Katie Taylor and her mother Bridget on their arrival at Dublin Airport. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Katie Taylor and her mother Bridget on their arrival at Dublin Airport. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

"Colin was a little nervous at the prospect himself, to be honest. He's normally used to being the star of the show, but he was in an arena packed with 80,000 people.

"It's become somewhat of a tradition for a personality to walk out a fighter, but Katie just wasn't interested - she was just completely focused on the fight ahead.

"It was really great for Colin to come down. He drove three hours from London to watch the fight and came back down afterwards to congratulate her."

Taylor's coach added that the boxer would now focus on unifying her belts and had ambitions to fight some of the world's most iconic boxers.

"With any sport you need a dance partner as they say.

"She's definitely looking to fight Natasha Jonas again - the same girl she fought in the London Olympics.

"Going forward you never know. The Holly Holm fight could even happen. I have about 12 names on my list that would all be possible opponents," he said.

Despite now being a world champion, Mr Peters believes Taylor still has a long way to go. He said: "She's only 11 months a professional and still serving her apprenticeship even though she's achieved so much.

"However, I have no doubt that she will continue to flourish into the future. Katie doesn't make any excuses and gets the job done in every sense. In all walks of life you would never meet a nicer or more humble person."

Staying tight-lipped about how much money she made for the fight, Mr Peters said Taylor was well-rewarded for her achievement.

"She was very well reimbursed and rightfully so. It was a massive show and the numbers who watched it was just incredible. I'm not saying exactly how much she received, but it was a fair amount," he said.

Bernard O'Neill, of the Irish Amateur Boxing Association, said the entire country was celebrating.

"There is just so much excitement now, it's unbelievable," he said. "Although her dad wasn't at the fight, I heard he was also glued to the TV and ecstatic with her win."

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