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Ireland's 'Golden Girl' reigns supreme on the banks of the Caspian Sea
by Michael O'Neill
July 6, 2015
Photo: Courtesy IABA.ie
 
     
   
   

(JULY 6)  The inaugural European Games boxing programme ended Saturday evening when the final event of the women’s tournament took place at the Crystal Hall in Baku, on the banks of the Caspian Sea.


(photo: © Baku2015.com Taylor takes 18th Gold – in Baku – to Mossely the Silver)

The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Mr. Ilham Aliyev was on hand to witness the day’s sport and to greet his own country’s stars and those of the competing nations.

The final of the 60kg Lightweight division was to see two of Europe’s finest lightweights in action as French champion Estelle Mossely (22) once more came up against Katie Taylor, the Olympic champion who celebrates her 29th birthday on 2nd July.

Having seen Azerbaijan’s ‘favourite daughter’ Yana Alekseevna come close to causing a major upset against the Irish woman in Friday’s semi-final, hopes were high in the French camp that this would be the day that Mossely ‘came of age’ and ‘arrived’ on the world stage.

Soon it became obvious that such hopes would be dashed as had those of so many others over the years for Taylor was close to her imperious best, despite not yet being fully recovered from that Jeju injury.

The judges returned a 3:0 verdict (40-36 40-36 39-37) in favour of the Bray boxer.

Taylor conceded later that she was still feeling the effects of her ‘battle royal’ with Alekseevna.

"I felt like she (Mossely) was causing me a small bit of trouble. I've had great preparation for this competition so it wasn't the fitness at all, but yesterday's bout took its toll mentally and physically really.

"Sometimes you go into the ring feeling more tired than usual but you have to dig deep and pull through and I think that is the mark of a great champion."

“I want to go down in the history books as one of the greatest female boxers of all time and I think I’m on the right path,” Taylor told the assembled media.

“I am European Games champion now as well as Olympic champion, European champion and world champion.

“I’ve got every single major title out there so it’s great to add this one to the list,” she added.

“When you’re so consistent people have to stand up and take notice. I don’t think people recognise or praise consistency enough.”

“I won every round in there, so I’m delighted with the tactics. Spot on, as usual, from my dad (Peter), and Billy Walsh and Zauri Antia. I’m so lucky to have some of the best coaches in the world.. Their tactics for this fight were spot on, and sometimes that’s the difference between winning and losing. I’m so grateful really to have those genius coaches in my corner.”

As she gazed lovingly at her 18th Gold in major tournaments since her first European win in Tonsberg, Norway back in 2005 she joked with the media. “It’s a relief to sit here now with the gold medal around my neck. It’s a gorgeous medal, actually. They didn’t spare any money, did they !?

On a more serious note she concluded: “There are a lot of fighters coming up that want to take my place. I think every competition is getting tougher, and because I’m the champion, they always want to raise their game against you, so I have to continue to improve, and up my game. I think some people at home think I just stroll through these competitions, but every fight is hard fought, and hard won.”

Congratulation then to Taylor, commiserations to the young French woman who as always gave her all. It simply was not good enough this time as the judges handed down their verdict – a unanimous 3:0 verdict in favour of Taylor.

Her compatriot young Michael O’Reilly completed a great day for the Irish with a surprising gold in the 75kg middleweight division (also against the Azerbaijani champion) and confessed that he too had been inspired by Taylor as he prepared for his own bout.

“Yeah, I was watching her fight in the warm-up. Then I was watching her on the podium. And I heard the Irish anthem. That just raised my excitement, to get where she was, on top of the medal podium. Sheer class”.

Two weeks break now after the return to Dublin Airport at 10a.m on Monday and another round of TV and Radio interviews then some private birthday celebrations with the family on 2nd July and who knows perhaps a bar or two of her favourite chocolate

before preparations start again for the 2016 World’s in Astana, Kazakhstan ,also a qualifier for the Rio Olympics.

Video of Taylor’s final – courtesy Baku2015.com is here : Katie Taylor wins the Women's Lightweight (57 - 60kg) Gold | Boxing | Baku 2015

Taylor v Mossely scorecard here:

http://www.baku2015.com/boxing/event/women-light-60kg/match=bxw060101/index.html?v=20150627143721&intcmp=athlete-profile-schline-result

All the results from Baku are here, thanks as usual to Strefa Poland boxing:

http://amateur-boxing.strefa.pl/Championships/EuropeanGames2015.html

 
     
     
   
 
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