Ireland’s Katie Taylor gets the opportunity to fulfill her Olympic dream on Monday when she takes on Natasha Jonas of Great Britain in the quarterfinals of the women’s lightweight competition at the ExCeL Arena.
There was very little real challenge offered to Jonas by Queen Underwood of the United States, who continued an spirit of American ineptitude, falling to a 22-11 decision.
Taylor is the #1 seed in the tournament, and that is no surprise whatsoever, as she is the reigning world champion in her weight class.
Women’s boxing, as you probably know, is a part of the Olympics for the first time ever. There are only three weight divisions that are going to be contested; the flyweight, lightweight and middleweight. A dozen women started out the competition in each of the three divisions.
Of those 36 women, Taylor has to be considered the best. She has basically won everything there is to be won. Taylor owns three European Union Amateur Championships, five European Amateur Championships and has won the gold medal the last four times the World Amateur Championships have been contested.
Peter Taylor, a former amateur boxer, has obviously taught his daughter well. She’s got an ideal fundamental style, which allows her to box or punch with equal proficiency. She has at one point won 39 bouts in a row, and she is, to say the least, coming into the Olympics on a roll, having won the Women’s World Boxing Championships this year, defeating Sofya Ochigava in the finals. Ochigava, by the way, is the #2 seed in the lightweight division.
Taylor is 26 years of age. Jonas is two years her senior, and is the winner of five different ABA (Amateur Boxing Association) championships in England. The highlight for her, prior to this that is, was a semifinal berth at the AIBA World Women’s Boxing Championships. That got her into the Games.
Jonas originally was interested in football, which is interesting because Taylor is a national-level player in Gaelic football. Her father said she “liked competition,” which drew her to boxing. She has taken a very difficult and unusual road in order to earn the right to compete in front of her countrymen here. A one-time middleweight, she won two European titles while campaigning as a welterweight and had to drop all the way to lightweight to earn an Olympic berth, since that was the only division she could possibly fight in.