Off the Pitch’s Sam Horscraft takes a little look at the career of boxing sensation Katie Taylor….
Anyone who has watched a Katie Taylor fight will realise that sexist phrases like the one in my title have absolutely no place in boxing, or society for that matter.
On December 13th, Taylor will be headlining her own show at York Hall, looking to defend her WBA Lightweight Title against American Jessica McCaskill, and I for one will be tuning in!
Rise to the Top
Born and raised in Bray, just south of Dublin, Taylor’s rise to the top of her sport showcases what a fine athlete she is.
Do you remember the kid at school that was good at everything? Whether it was the javelin, a 200m dash or handling a slightly broken hockey stick, you just knew they’d be better than you. Well I have a sneaky suspicion Taylor was that kid…
At the age of 15 the impressive Taylor had already represented the Republic of Ireland Women’s Football Team at Under-17 and Under-19 levels, before making 11 senior appearances and notching two goals. Alongside her footballing achievements, the Dubliner played Gaelic football, Camogie and was offered sporting scholarships from several American colleges.
Let’s also not forget, at a young age Taylor also took a liking to boxing. Putting on the gloves at the age of 12, under the coaching influence of her Father, Peter (who was formerly an Irish Senior Light Heavyweight Champion himself), Taylor went on to have a stellar amateur career.
2005 AIBA World Boxing Championships participant in Podolsk, Russia
2006 AIBA World Boxing Championships Gold medalist in New Delhi, India
2008 AIBA World Boxing Championships Gold medalist in Ningbo City, China
2010 AIBA World Boxing Championships Gold medalist in Bridgetown, Barbados
2012 AIBA World Boxing Championships Gold medalist in Qinhuangdao, China
2012 Summer Olympic Games Gold medalist in London, England
2014 AIBA World Boxing Championships Gold medalist in Jeju City, South Korea
2016 AIBA World Boxing Championships Bronze medalist in Astana, Kazakhstan
2016 Summer Olympic Games participant in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The stand-out success from above, is of course the 2012 Olympic Gold Medal in London. It had been a magical couple of weeks for Taylor starting with bearing the Irish flag at the opening ceremony, before winning the Gold to become the first ever Olympic female lightweight champion. Oh, she also won the hearts of her entire nation…
The support for Katie throughout her 2012 journey was outstanding. My memories of her gold medal bout will always be the atmosphere Taylor’s following created and obviously the Coddle’s ‘Katie Taylor Ireland’s Boxing Legend’, which reached no.42 in the Irish charts.
Following the Rio Olympics, Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing signed Taylor, seeing the decorated amateur make her professional debut on 26th November 2017 at the SSE Arena, Wembley. The newly turned pro’s exciting style saw off Karina Kopinska of Poland in just three rounds, announcing the lightweight on the professional stage.
Fast-forward just 20 days and the Bray Bomber was back in the ring, fighting on Anthony Joshua’s undercard. Another knockout performance saw the flourishing star come out victorious, with her lightning hand speed and hard-hitting style proving too much for Viviane Obenauf.
Four fights and just 11 months later, the 2012 golden girl was fighting for a world title (again on Anthony Joshua’s undercard). Standing in her way was Argentine Anahi Sanchez, who had only lost two of her previous 19 fights. An amazing performance saw Taylor crowned WBA Lightweight Champion after just seven fights. Katie dominated the fight from start to finish, not letting up after knocking Sanchez down with a ferocious left hook in the second.
Following that dramatic night in Cardiff, Taylor’s first defence has just been announced by the Matchroom team. As I skillfully eluded to allude to above, York Hall will be the destination for the headline show.
Speaking to Sky Sports News’ Sportswomen, the 31-year-old is clearly very excited about the night:
“It’s been a great year for me and this is definitely a great end to it, to fight a great fighter. It’s very exciting for me. I expect a tough, tough fight. She’s meant to be a very good opponent and I am expecting a tough challenge.
“I am so excited about headlining my first show as a professional boxer and my mindset will stay the same going into this one. I prepare meticulously for every single fight and this fight is no different, so I can’t wait to go in there and perform.”
An expected sell-out, it’s sure to be an electric night as you can guarantee her Irish army of fans will come over in their droves.
If Taylor successfully navigated the American, Hearn has spoken about a homecoming fight in Dublin in 2018. And if that’s the case, I will have Ryanair on speed dial because it will be one of the ‘must-see’ sporting events of the year.
Well there you have it, a little background on one of the most decorated sports stars to come out of the Emerald Isle, and as she’s proved year after year, there’s still so much more to come. If ‘fighting like a girl’ is having the talent and success of Taylor, then I’ll take it!
Find out more about Katie Taylor…