Boxing: Taylor ready to book London ticket with another world crown
KATIE TAYLOR will begin her quest for her fourth AIBA world lightweight title on the trot and a place at the London 2012 Olympics in China today.
The preliminary rounds of the seventh AIBA Women's World Championships -- the only Olympic qualifier for female boxers -- glove off at the Olympic Stadium in Qinhuangdao this afternoon.
Taylor and the Irish squad of flyweight Ceire Smith and middleweight Sinead Kavanagh have been in China for the last seven days ahead of the opening bell for the tournament, which was brought forward 24 hours because of the record entry.
The draw for the championships will take place at 7.0am (Irish time) today with boxing to commence at 2.0 (Irish time).
Up to 70 boxers are expected to compete in Taylor's lightweight category, which, along with the flyweight and middleweight classes, is one of the three Olympic weight categories for women. Leeds United fan Taylor, an Ireland soccer international midfielder, and the Irish squad wound down with a kick-about at their base at the China Football School yesterday.
And Taylor's coach and dad, Pete Taylor, who will be working Ireland's corner along with Zuar Antia, says the 'Girls in Green' can't wait to get into the ring.
"Ceire and Sinead could be in action on Friday as there is a very big entry. Friday's draw will reveal everything and we'll know exactly where we stand after that is made," he said.
"Katie is in great form and very relaxed. All the hard work is done now and we're ready for the kick-off. We came here to win it and I'd be very disappointed if we didn't.
"Katie has won it on the last three occasions and it kind of belongs to us at this stage. We know it is going to be very tough. Everyone is here and there's a very big entry.
"I'm delighted with that, as it just shows how much women's boxing has improved. The best in the world are here and they are all good. I'm delighted with the big entry. The more the merrier." Three Olympic places each are available for European boxers in the flyweight, lightweight and middleweight weight classes in China.
This will be the second time that Taylor has had to defend her title in China, as she won it in Ningbo City in 2008, two years after she claimed her first world title in New Delhi.
The Bray woman, who will be seeded No 1 in Qinhuangdao, secured the AIBA lightweight crown for the third time in a row in Barbados in 2010.