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Boxing: Irish Team Settled in Jeju as Katie Taylor Seeks Record Fifth In A Row World Crown
by Michael O'Neill
November 13, 2014


(NOV 13)  Olympic Gold medallist and already four times World champion, Katie Taylor heads a strong – but small – Irish team at the eighth edition of the AIBA Women’s World Championships beginning in Jeju City, Korea on Sunday.

Speaking to WBAN, from the team’s base in Jeju, coach and Dad, Pete said that training and sparring, had gone well and that Katie was in fine form and looking forward to defending her 60kg crown – should she win again in Jeju it will be a record breaking fifth successive crown, a feat never before achieved.

Pete said: “Training and sparring has gone great and she has been sparring with the Korean team (males and females).

Her main competitors I think will be Russia’s Sofya Ochigava, French champion Estelle Mossely and China’s titleholder Yin Junhua

But anyone on the opposite corner to Katie is going to be a threat.

There are no easy bouts at this level.

All the Irish girls are in great form and are looking forward to the championships”

The Bray lightweight has won an astonishing 16 major titles since claiming her first European gold after beating Finland’s Eva Wahlstroem in Norway in 2005.

Her haul to-date includes one Olympic, four AIBA World, six European and five European Union titles – all in-a-row.

To date she has won some 149 bouts, with over 95 per cent of them, outside of her native Ireland. Should she win that 150th bout in Korea early next week then, with the standard of women’s boxing improving dramatically year-on-year it is a record unlikely to be surpassed, other than by Katie Taylor!

Even more remarkable when one considers that Katie has never won an Irish title – in the ring –back home and indeed few of her Irish fans have ever seen her in ‘live’ action save those lucky enough to be at the ExCeL Arena on those heady August days of London 2012.

She’s also scooped three AIBA World Elite Female Boxer of the Year Awards and has been in No. 1 position in the AIBA 60kg rankings for the last eight years.

Last but not least she has been WBAN’s ‘Amateur’ Boxer of the Year on six occasions, sharing it with fellow Olympic Gold medallists Nicky Adams and Claressa Shields in 2012.

Before leaving for the Korean training camp, Katie herself had forecast that this would be the toughest test for her to date.

“I want to make history in my sport, I want to be a highly decorated amateur champion and continue to win titles”.

“Preparations are going great, I’ve been training hard all year, the European Championships went great and I’ve quickly switched my focus to these Worlds.

Things are going really well and I’m feeling really strong and sharp and hopefully I’ll defend my title.

“It’s going to be tough and it’s always difficult to defend those titles. It doesn’t come easy and I think it gets harder and harder every year because you are going in as the one to beat and everyone raises their game against you.

“So, I have to be at my very best and box better than I’ve ever done before to win “

Ireland’s other medal hopes include Joanne Lambe from Carrickmacross BC, Kilkenny’s Clare Grace who boxes out of the Callan club and Michaela Walsh from the Holy Family Golden Gloves club in Belfast. Michaela, you will recall took silver and in the eyes of many experts was ‘unlucky’ to lose out for Gold at the recent Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Jeju though will be even tougher albeit England’s Nicola Adams will be missing due to injury.

Talking to WBAN from Jeju, Joanne Lambe told us:

“It feels great to be out here, an absolutely amazing experience so far. There are 3 different hotels that are accommodating the boxers and coaches… in our hotel we have the Polish, The USA, The Road to Jeju group and a few others…. I spotted a Ugandan tracksuit too so it’s great to see they too made it out here.

I’ve spotted Queen Underwood, Claressa Shields, and Tiara Brown from the USA… Record numbers entered in these World Championships… it’s absolutely fantastic and just proves how women’s boxing is growing…here’s hoping that will be reflected with increased weight classes for the Olympics!!!

Obviously I’m hoping for a kind draw on Sunday….however you have got to be prepared for anything. It is the World Championships at the end of the day and everybody will have their eyes on the prize…nobody is coming out here to lose or make up numbers. So it doesn’t matter who is in front of me in the ring, I will not be underestimating -or overestimating - anybody.

Training has gone really well to date. We have a fantastic atmosphere in the team, everybody is getting on so well and we are all looking forward to the competition starting. We have sparred with the Korean team a few times and we were all very pleased with our performances. I watched Katie, Clare and Michaela sparring and they all look on form. I felt great in my own spars too.

I have no idea how many will be in each weight category; it will be interesting to see!! I’m expecting a high number in mine though!

You can follow all the news from Jeju here on WBAN in the coming days. Boxing begins on Sunday evening in Jeju’s Halla Gymnasium.

AIBA World Women’s Elite Championships Jeju, Korea November 16/24

54kg Michaela Walsh (Holy Family)
57kg Joanna Lambe (Carrickmacross)
60kg Katie Taylor (Bray)
69kg Clare Grace (Callan)

Team Manager : Anna Moore
Coaches : Pete Taylor, Zuar Antia, Gerry Storey

Irish viewers can watch full coverage of all the Semi-finals (both sessions) via TG4 on Sunday 23rd November and the Finals on Monday 24th November. TG4’s commentary will be provided by Seán Bán Breathnach and Colman Ó Flatharta.

TG4’s Rónán Ó Coisdealbha said: “We are happy to be making this major international boxing event available on free to view television as Ireland’s most successful and revered female sports star ever,once again puts her reputation on the line and goes to do us (and herself) proud on the world stage.

WBAN welcomes news from other teams competing in Jeju next week - just email us here on wban100@aol.com where we also welcome details of any LIVE coverage in your country. Once we hear from the AIBA of any LIVE coverage of the tournament that they are providing, we will of course update you.

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