Unstoppable Taylor in a class of her own
IRELAND'S Katie Taylor confirmed her status as the world's top female boxer after winning her second title on the trot and the boxer of the tournament award at the 5th AIBA Women's World Championships in Ningbo City, China yesterday following an emphatic 13-2 win over Cheng Dong of China.
The verdict, earned over three two-minute rounds at the Ningbo Youngor Gymnasium, arrived two years after the Irish lightweight claimed her first world title in India.
Taylor reduced the noisy Chinese fans to a surreal silence after opening up a 6-0 lead at the bell for the end of the first round before increasing her advantage to nine points in the second.
The 22-year-old from Bray, who also holds European and European Union lightweight titles, has been ranked number one in the world for the last two years.
Her dream is to compete in the London 2012 Olympics, but she is waiting on a decision from the International Olympic Committee to see if women's boxing will be sanctioned as an Olympic sport. The decision is not due to be made until next year.
"My target was to retain my title and I'm absolutely thrilled with this win and it is a very proud moment for me to win my second world title in-a-row," said Taylor.
"It was a tough World Championships, which just proves that women's boxing is improving all the time and hopefully we will be able to compete in the 2012 Olympics in London, that would be a dream come true.
"We are just like all other athletes in that we want to be given the opportunity to represent our country at the Olympic Games and hopefully it will happen for us this time," she added.
Commenting on yesterday's victory, the president of the Irish Amateur Boxing Association, Dominic O'Rourke, described Taylor as an inspiration.
"Katie has been absolutely fantastic at the World Championships," he said.
"She was under a lot of pressure to win gold in China and she showed her mental strength and ability to once again finish on top of the podium.
"I can't praise her highly enough. The beauty of this win is that her father Peter is her coach. Peter and the entire team in Ningbo City deserve all our praise.
"Katie's win caps what has been an incredible year for us. Our boxers have taken home medals from every international tournament they have entered this year."
After yesterday's performance, this glittering international roll of honour for Ireland's amateur fighters includes the Olympic Games, the European Championships, the men's and women's EU Championships, the World Youth Championships, the European Schoolboy Championships and now the Women's World Championships.
The Irish team, which also includes team manager, Anna Moore, coach Peter Taylor, physio Yvonne Ryan and Fionna Hennigan (judge) are due to arrive home tomorrow.