Taylor revels in return to heat of battle
THE heat will be back on for Olympic champion Katie Taylor today when she leads the Irish team back into battle at the EU Women's Senior, Youth and Junior Championships in Hungary.
The 23-nation tournament is taking place in the Tennis Arena in Keszthely, where temperatures are topping the 35 degree Celsius mark all week inside the venue.
Taylor meets Finnish lightweight Mira Potkonen in the 60kg semi-finals today, two wins away from winning her fifth successive EU title.
The Bray woman defeated Hungary's Benke Sara on a TKO decision in the fourth round in Wednesday's quarter-finals to set up the last-four duel with the little-known Finn.
"I enjoyed my first fight here. It's always nice to get another win under my belt and to get back into the routine of a tournament, although it is very warm in the competition venue," said Taylor.
"I think the Irish squad are performing magnificently. They are giving it absolutely everything to get among the medals and there's great determination and pride in the team.
"I have never met the Finnish girl before. She had a good victory in her quarter-final and she'll be confident going into the semi-final, so hopefully I will get the win."
Meanwhile, Claire Grace guaranteed herself at least bronze with a unanimous decision over Croatian fighter Jovana Vucic in yesterday's senior 69kg quarter-finals.
Kelly Harrington and Sinead Kavanagh exited at the last-eight stage in the senior class.
In the junior bouts, four Irish boxers upgraded from bronze to at least silver yesterday.
European junior champion Amy Broadhurst, Grainne Gavin, Jacqui Lynch and Ciara Sheedy progressed to the finals following last-four victories.