Katie Taylor begins her next step in bid to be greatest of all time
Olympic champion Katie Taylor will face the last woman to beat her on her debut at the inaugural European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan today.
The Bray orthodox is scheduled to go four two-minute rounds with Bulgaria's Denista Eliseeva in the lightweight class at the Crystal Hall venue in the Azeri capital at approximately 2.30 this afternoon Irish time.
Taylor, who has beaten Eliseeva six times, controversially lost to the Bulgarian at the 2011 Strandja Memorial in Bulgaria. Eliseeva apologised to the Wicklow woman for the verdict immediately after that fight.
Following that "defeat", Taylor avoided multi-nation tournaments and has only competed in World and European tournaments, where approved judges are allowed sit at ringside.
If Taylor advances from today's encounter, she will meet either Turkey's Basar Gamez or Sweden's Ida Lundbald in the last eight on Wednesday.The AIBA World No 1 is targeting gold and has one eye on her legacy at the Crystal Hall venue in Baku.
"Only one person comes out with the gold medal and I plan to be that person. I want to be the best female boxer of all time and want to make history in my sport. That just inspires me every day, she said.
"There is going to be a lot of pressure on me going into these competitions. I enjoy that challenge as it's something I've gotten used to over the years, I see it as a privilege rather than a burden. People still haven't seen the best of me yet."
Meanwhile, the 12-strong Irish boxing team, riding high on the crest of seven wins from eight up to yesterday, lost their first two fights of yesterday's session in Baku on unanimous decisions.
Belfast's Michaela Walsh and Limerick fly Myles Casey exited at the last-16 stage to London 2012 Olympian Elena Saveleva and Azeri No 1 seed Elvin Mamishzada.
The Wash versus Savelava fight was a repeat of the 2014 European quarter-final which the Russian bantam won, while Mamishzada, who was beaten by Paddy Barnes in the 2010 European final in Moscow, dropped the last round to Casey.
Belfast lightweight Sean McComb returned Ireland to winning ways against Donato Cosenza yesterday.
The Irish Elite champion convincingly beat the Italian, a team-mate of Ireland's Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan with Italia Thunder in the World Series of Boxing last season, 30-27 on all three judges' cards.
The European Games are acting as a qualifier for October's World Men's Elite Championships and Olympic qualifiers in Doha, Qatar.
London 2012 Olympian and Wexford southpaw Adam Nolan made it two wins over Italy on a unanimous decision over Darior Morello yesterday and Tipperary super-heavy Dean Gardiner completed the hat-trick over the Italians on a unanimous verdict over Guido Vianello.
Elsewhere, gymnast Kieran Behan narrowly missed out on a European Games medal by just 0.134 points, finishing fourth behind David Belyavsky of Russia, while Caroline Ryan failed to finish the cycling road race which took place in 30 degree heat.
At the European Team Championships League 1 in Heraklion, Greece,Thomas Barr of Ferrybank suffered a rare defeat in the 400m hurdles.
In sweltering conditions, Barr could not shake off the challenge of Estonia's Rasmus Magi who stormed home from lane four to win the race in 49.49 seconds. Barr, who was running two lanes outside the Estonian, was second in 49.66. European champion Kareim Hussein of Switzerland finished third in 49.96 seconds.
Thanks to a solid all-round performance from the team, the Irish were lying joint fourth after yesterday's 20 events.
Amy Foster's time of 11.60 secs saw her finish third in the 100m behind pre-race favourite Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands, a clear winner in 11.12 seconds.
Sunday Indo Sport