'It's been a very, very tough year' - a tearful Katie Taylor crashes out of the Rio Olympics
Katie Taylor’s defence of her Olympic title ended at the first hurdle after she was sensationally defeated by Finland’s Mira Potkonen in the quarter final of the women’s lightweight bracket.
Taylor, who won the inaugural women’s competition in London four years, was heavily favoured to dispatch of the 35-year-old Finn and progress to the final four with relative ease.
Katie Taylor admits it has been a very difficult year as she reflects on losing Olympic crown https://t.co/mrA7PmWJhl— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) August 15, 2016
However, and in continuation in with what has been a nigh on disastrous games for the Irish boxers, inside and outside of the ring, the Bray woman, like Paddy Barnes, unexpectedly fell first time out in Brazil.
"It's very disappointing. It's been a very, very tough year. A lot of losses this year and it's very hard to take. I just have to thank everyone for their support," a visibly emotional Katie told RTE television.
“The Olympics is a dream for me, and I came in here, I prepared well, I gave it my best shot but it just doesn’t happen sometimes.
“The plans you have in your heart aren’t always God’s plans. I’d like to thank everyone for all their support and prayers. I’m so humbled by that. It’s such a privilege and an honour to be here and I just want to thank everyone for their support.
"I thought she probably won the second round but I though the other three rounds went my way. I should be beating those girls. I don't know what to say about it really," she added.
Taylor's emotions understandably threatened to overcome her in the interview - just moments after the surprise defeat.
The Ireland coach Zaur Antia was adamant that the Bray woman had won the fight over and was visibly angry with the split decision by the judges.
“She won (the fight), she had good skills, sidesteps, clean punches, what else she can do now? Katie hit more, two times more than she got, what else she can do?”
Taylor was the last of the Irish boxers to compete in Rio, having received a bye to the last eight, and it was hoped she and Michael Conlan could alter the deflating narrative after Steven Donnelly and Brendan Irvine were eliminated over the weekend.
Indeed this loss, following those in April at the European Olympic qualifiers and at the World Amateur Championships a month later, in tandem with the continued absence of her father and long time coach, Pete, will only further fuel speculation that the 30-year-old’s best days are behind her.
Admittedly she was unlucky with the verdict; one judge gave her the fight on a 39-37 score; while another judge gave the fight to the Finn on the same score. The third scoring judge marked it level 38-38 but then opted for the underdog.
Right from the start Taylor looked out of sorts. Her timing was off and she couldn't deal with the Finn's lethal right hand. She won the first round on two of the judges' card, but lost the second on all three.
While she improved in the third and fourth round she didn't score enough to convince the judges to give her the verdict.
Taylor has won 18 gold medals in championship boxing.
More to follow