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Boxing: Katie Taylor 'raises the roof' in Castlebar
by Michael O'Neill
March 26, 2013

On Sunday Katie Taylor and her legion of fans celebrated her 25 – 8 win over Bulgarian champion, Denitsa Eliseeva, in style, by repeating what we saw - and heard - at the XXX Olympiad in London 2012.

One of the memorable moments of London 2012 came when Taylor fought and defeated Great Britain’s Natasha Jonas at the ExCeL Arena in London’s Docklands on a never to be forgotten occasion for those of us fortunate enough to be present.

The official statistics show that on that occasion the noise from the near 10,000 fans measured at an ear-blistering 113 decibels, the loudest in any Olympic bout, male or female.

Sunday ‘s bout took place in in Castlebar, County Mayo at the packed 2,000 seater Royal Theatre and Event Centre. Today their review of the evening’s entertainment says “Last night, Katie's crew conducted a decibel test. The decibels reached in the Excel Arena, London last summer for Katie's Olympic fight was a record 113 decibels. Dublin tried to beat it last Friday at Katie's fight in the Bord Gais Energy Theatre (against Julia Tsyplakova of Ukraine) , but only managed 107 decibels. Well guess what? Castlebar fans - you EQUALLED that of the noise level in the Excel Arena last year with 113 decibels last night! AMAZING ATMOSPHERE!!”

It was for Mayo sports fans the perfect end to a perfect day which saw the home side’s Gaelic footballers defeat All-Ireland champions Donegal. Many fans who were present at Elverys’ McHale Park later went along to the Royal Theatre – among them Mayo idol, Aidan O’Shea –not only to pay their respects to the World and Olympic champion but also to see an excellent night’s boxing organised in conjunction with Geesala, one of Ireland’s leading boxing clubs among whose number is another Katie - Rowland – one of the country’s leading future prospects who was making a welcome return to the ring. Last night Rowland scored a 30:4 win over Ballyhaunis’ boxer Michelle Daly, herself an Irish titleholder.

On the night another Mayo star taking part was European champion Ray Moylette beat Olympic BC, Galway’s Patrick Mongan 19-7 on the Taylor/Eliseeva undercard in a repeat of their Irish Elite Championships quarter-final which Moylette won 14-7.

In the evening’s main bout, Taylor gained a very comprehensive 25-8 decision over the Bulgarian titleholder, who incidentally was the last boxer to ‘defeat’ the 26 years old from Bray. That was a highly controversial decision at the Strandja Cup in Bulgaria in 2011where most neutrals had Taylor ahead by 15 points or more. Indeed the Referee raised Taylor’s hand in victory and the Stadium announcer congratulated her on her win only for the judges’ to award the decision to their local hero. On that occasion Eliseeva very sportingly apologised to Team Taylor and several of the judges were later suspended though the result stood.

For Katie Taylor, Sunday night was ‘just another bout’ on the long and winding road to Rio and no thought of ‘revenge’. She won the first round 6-2, was 12-3 up after the second and took an 18-5 lead from the third into the fourth and final frame, which she won 7-3. It was a gallant fight by the experienced Eliseeva against all the odds . Great praise to her - and her coach - for venturing into Castlebar and facing not only such an opponent but also an ‘intimidating’ (albeit very friendly) local crowd in support of their fighter.

Taylor said later: “I would like to thank everyone for coming out in support in Castlebar tonight, it certainly was a tremendous atmosphere and that was a great motivator”.

adding “I would also like to thank Denitsa for tonight’s bout. It has been a busy weekend and I’m delighted with the victories.”

The World no.1 is off to Kazakhstan with the Irish Elite men’s squad for a training camp on April 3rd but returns to the ring in Cork at the Green Glens Arena in Millstreet on May 5th on the occasion of the IABA International fixture against France.

Last night’s Brian Peters Promotion ‘On the Road to Rio’ must surely show the IABA that ‘providing the price is right’ there is a huge interest in boxing outside of Dublin’s National Stadium. That makes it all the sadder that Belfast fans have been deprived of the opportunity of seeing Katie Taylor, Paddy Barnes, Mick Conlan and John Joe Nevin in action following the IABA’s cancellation of the Ireland v France planned May meeting, which had been scheduled as a two city International.

On Friday night, Taylor defeated Ukrainian titleholder Julia Tsyplakova at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in Dublin to record her third win since winning an historic Olympic gold in London last August.

It was also her third victory over Tsyplakova, whom she twice defeated at Dublin’s National Stadium in March 2010. Tsyplakova, the 30 years old from Kharkiv, had reached the quarter finals of the 2012 World (57kg) championships in China, where she went out against England’s world no 2, Lisa Whiteside and prior to Friday had defeated many of the world’s leading boxers at 57 and 60kg.

“I’m happy with the win, it’s always nice to keep winning and I would like to thank Julia for the fight and everyone for such a great show of support here,” said the Olympic lightweight champion.

The 26 years old from Bray scored a comfortable unanimous points decision over four, two minutes rounds.

It was an impressive performance from the World No. 1, who repeatedly snapped home two and three-punch combinations against Tsyplakova.

The Ukrainian was rocked by a big left right in the first, and Taylor, using her right jab as her launch pad for most of her good work, also found the target with some big lefts in the third and fourth.

Ireland’s Olympic boxing captain, Darren O’Neill beat Roy Sheahan on a majority decision on Friday’s card, both boxers serving up an engaging and hard-punching middleweight contest.

Taylor’s Bray BC team-mate Laoise Traynor gave a fine account of herself against Poland’s Magdalena Stelmach, a silver medallist at the 2012 AIBA World Women’s Championships, Stelmach winning on this occasion.

The real winner though both in Dublin and in Castlebar was ‘women’s boxing’ for the audience on both nights was not your typical boxing fan but an across the board mix of men and women, boys and girls, the young and old, many of whom until Katie Taylor’s win in London 2012 would never have seen a female bout even on television.

Yet on two bitterly cold March nights the fans queued to get in but were in no hurry to leave as their hero happily signed autographs, a copy of ‘Katie Taylor – My Olympic Dream’ or stood patiently chatting whilst dozens of photographs were taken. Clubs throughout Ireland – as in the United Kingdom and other countries – have been “snowed under” with applications from young women of all ages to join their local club since London 2012.    Video

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