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Katie Taylor voted AIBA Elite Woman Boxer of 2012
by Michael O'Neill
October 11, 2012
Photo: Katie Taylor

(OCT 11) Ireland’s 26 years old Olympic Gold medallist, Katie Taylor has been voted as the AIBA Elite Woman Boxer of the Year for a record third time thus confirming her top ranking status in a year which had already seen her take the World and Olympic titles.

The announcement came Thursday from the AIBA selection committee chaired by President, Dr Ching-Kuo Wu and composed of AIBA Commission Chairpersons.

A second prestigious award also went Ireland’s way when Michael Gallagher, from Omagh, Co. Tyrone was chosen as best Referee and Judge for the year, his second such award.

For Katie Taylor the award places her further ahead of any other female amateur boxer, past or present as the 26 years old Bray native , has now won this prestigious award for the third time in four years as well as four World crowns since India 2006, five successive European titles beginning with Norway 2005 and four European Union championships . In that period she has never been beaten in any championship competition, an amazing record. She has also won the prestigious WBAN amateur boxer award in five of the last six years.

In addition to taking the Gold medal in the Olympics , she was also voted unanimously as outstanding female boxer in London with the international governing body adding at that time that Taylor was ‘“a worthy winner of the first ever women’s best boxer trophy” and “the decision was not decided on sentiment”.

Those of us who were privileged to witness her great quarter final victory over GB’s Natasha Jonas and semi-final success against Tajikistan’s Mavzuna Chorieva could readily identify with the AIBA’s description of her as a pioneer for women’s boxing who would take the sport “to new heights with her level of skills and dedication” . Though the final against Russia’s Sofya Ochigava was a tense ‘cat and mouse’ affair, Taylor rose to the occasion and came back from behind to take that elusive Olympic Gold before some 10,000 fans, the majority of whom were Irish, at the ExCeL.

She had figured in arguably the best bout of the tournament - men or women - when she waged war with Great Britain's Natasha Jonas, winning 26-15 in a furious bout which will live long in the memory of all who witnessed it.

Other serious competitors for the 2012 award included GB’s Nikki Adams, U.S Boxing’s Claressa Shields (like Taylor, both Olympic Gold medallists), China’s Cancan Ren , India’s Mery Kom and Russians Nadezda Torlopova and Ochigava.

“Katie has won the award three times now and that has never been done before. It’s a great honour and we’re absolutely delighted”, said coach and father, Peter Taylor.

The official 2012 awards ceremony will be held at a banquet in Yerevan, Armenia, on December 7th during the AIBA World Youths Championships. Taylor first received the world female boxer of the year award in Moscow four years ago and then again in 2010 at the AIBA awards in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

In announcing the 2012 awards, the AIBA added: “We are proud at AIBA that Katie Taylor has graced the sport of boxing and we sincerely hope that she will be there in Rio 2016 to defend her title and once again showcase women’s boxing in all its splendour.”

“The International Boxing Association (AIBA) is delighted to reveal the list of winners for its 2012 AIBA Annual Awards Ceremony. The selection committee was chaired by AIBA President, Dr Ching-Kuo Wu and composed by AIBA Commission Chairpersons”.

The official announcement concluded : “The 2012 AIBA Annual Awards Ceremony will take place on 7 December in conjunction with the final banquet of the AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships Yerevan 2012”.

AIBA Awards – 2012 :

Best Elite Men Boxer of the Year - Oleksandr USYK (Ukraine)

Best Elite Women Boxer of the Year - Katie TAYLOR (Ireland)

Best Referee & Judge of the Year - Michael GALLAGHER (Ireland)

Best Coach of the Year - David HALLOWAY (Great Britain)

Best Technical Official of the Year - Franco FALCINELLI (Italy)

Best WSB Boxer of the Year - Sergiy DEREVYANCHENKO (Ukraine)

Best WSB Referee & Judge of the Year - Jean-Robert LAINE (France)

Best WSB Coach of the Year - Francesco DAMIANI (Italy)

Best WSB Supervisor of the Year - Luiz BOSELLI (Brazil)

Best Sportsmanship of the Year - Garip ERCUYUMCU (Turkey)

Meantime will Katie remain an Amateur or turn Pro? Remember some eight days ago we said in an editorial : “ WBAN TO TAYLOR – DO NOT GO PRO YET and went on .

‘We feel that IF she turns pro now,it will end in great regret for her, and Taylor has worked too hard up to this point, to change her game plan in the sport.

We would like to suggest to Taylor to STAY IN THE AMATEURS and compete in the 2016 Olympics, THEN turn Pro. In this four year period until 2016 ,the pro side of the sport will have hopefully a more sturdy foundation that develops, now that we have had
female boxers accepted for the first time in the Olympics”.

So how does Katie Taylor herself see the situation now?

“I’d love to stay amateur and go for Rio in four years. The only thing I haven’t done in amateur boxing is defend my Olympic title and that’s a major ambition.

“But at the same time, I have been offered a few nice pro contracts. What is crucial for me is getting my future secured. I’m not sure what deal with the IABA is going to be made yet.

“But put it this way, if I get the right contract then I can’t think of anything better than boxing for your country and bringing medals back home.

“Straight up, I’d love to bring back another gold from Rio in 2016.”

“I think the Olympics will always be the pinnacle. If I did turn pro, would I ever get back to how I felt at the Olympics? Defending that title would get that feeling”, she later told ‘The Irish Times’..

“The professional game is more like a business, a cut-throat business, really. You have to get the right fights, the right promoter. With amateur boxing you’re just there to fight the best. And I think it’s harder to win titles in amateur boxing. But I absolutely love it, and the Olympics. It’s a challenge to defend the titles, every year, as well, so I would have no trouble with motivating myself to go on, either.”

WBAN.com understands that a final decision is likely within the next 10 days or so though discussions have taken longer than the Taylors may have anticipated due to the number of parties involved eg: the Irish Amateur Boxing Association, the AIBA and of course the Irish Sports Council.

Irish sporting bodies have long been anticipating cuts in sports grants for 2013 due to the country’s financial situation hence discussions such as those involving Katie Taylor can take longer than the parties would have hoped for yet is it quite clear from her comments that Katie herself is indeed hoping to defend that Olympic crown in Rio.

Olympic Silver medallist, John Joe Nevin has only this week turned Pro – a big blow to the IABA, who had hoped he would remain an amateur but perhaps also a decision which could eventually benefit Taylor.

In addition on 8 November, her book “ Katie Taylor – My Olympic Dream”, published by Simon & Schuster will be available from Amazon worldwide and in most major bookshops, in time for the lucrative Christmas market.

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