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Katie Taylor's 10 year reign as 'Queen of the Lightweights'
by Michael O'Neill
January 4, 2016

(JAN 4)  On January 1st, Ireland’s Katie Taylor, (one of our WBAN ‘Amateurs of the Year 2015) began 2016 as the AIBA World no.1 Lightweight just as she has done ever since first reaching the top of the podium back in 2006.

(Photo: iaba.ie)

AIBA President Dr.Ching-Ku Wu paid this tribute to the Bray woman:

“What Katie Taylor has achieved over the last ten years in international competition, including the Olympic Games and AIBA World Women’s Elite Championships, has been absolutely outstanding.

“The International Boxing Association congratulates and salutes Katie. To remain at the top of our lightweight rankings for a decade is extraordinary.

“Such remarkable consistency is a testimony to the skill, ambition and determination of a truly world class boxer. She is an inspiration to our young athletes throughout the world.”

(Photo: iaba.ie)

Newly appointed IABA President and Portlaoise BC coach, Pat Ryan who has been in Taylor’s corner on many occasions in her early career, says that what the boxer and many times Irish soccer international has achieved will most likely ‘never be surpassed in our lifetime’ though arguably he might have added ‘unless by Katie herself’. She currently is the holder of every available ‘AIBA Family’ title, as the reigning Olympic, World, European, European Games, European Union and Irish champion.

It seems a long time now since Taylor’s reign began in New Delhi, India in November 2006 after she beat Argentina’s Erica Annabella Farias to claim her first World gold, a win which lifted her to No.1 in the 60kg rankings for the first time.

Farias turned Pro a year after dropping a 31-14 decision to Taylor, in the final, under the old computer scoring system and is the current WBC World super-lightweight champion. Farias is also the no.1 in the WBAN Jr.Welterweight rankings, with fellow Argentinian, Celeste Peralta at no 3, another whom Taylor has seen off in the AIBA world championships this time in Ningbo City 2008 when she stopped Peralta in the first round of their quarter final clash.

Taylor will be aiming for her sixth successive title at the World Women’s Elite Championships and Olympic qualifiers in Kazakhstan in May.

She could though be qualified for Rio 2016 before Kazakhstan if she finishes in the top three at the European Olympic qualifiers in Turkey in April.

She is currently in No. 1 spot in the 60kg rankings on 2,400 points, 850 points ahead of France’s Estelle Mosselly who is second with Azerbaijan’s Yana Alekseevna fourth.

Any thoughts that her opponents had that she might quit at end of 2015 were dispelled in late Fall when she received the prestigious Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) award in Washington.

“It was amazing to compete at the first ever European Games in Baku and to become the first ever women’s European Games lightweight champion. This recognition is extremely humbling and I am very grateful to ANOC for awarding me this honour. I am looking forward to travelling to Rio with the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) and bringing home some more medals for Ireland.”

She is mindful of the fact that many of her other 60kg challengers, are now much improved so she is not assuming that she will qualify :

“There’s no guarantee when it comes to the Olympic qualifiers, some of the best boxers sometimes don’t get through so you can never be complacent in these competitions.

“I’m just delighted to be doing something that I love and I’m going to be doing everything I can to get there and bring home the gold medal to Ireland again,” Taylor added.

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