Olympic Women’s Boxing: Will the Legend of Katie Taylor Continue?
by Charles Jay
Katie Taylor is like one of those dominant women’s tennis players who wins every Grand Slam year after year. Come to think of it, there haven’t been too many of them, have there? Taylor is quite a unique athlete indeed. The Irish superstar is without question the most decorated competitor in women’s amateur boxing, and almost sure bet to win Olympic gold.
Taylor is so dominant that she has won the last four World Amateur Championships, as well as four straight European Union titles and five European Amateur Championships. many of her victories come by wide margins, and there is little question that in the 60 kg class, though populated with strength, she is the only one worth looking at. In the AIBA ratings system, where she is, of course, #1 in the division, she has twice as many ratings points as the next woman on the list, Gulsum Tatar of Turkey.
Perhaps her most remarkable performance came at the 2009 European Championships, as she won her three bouts and the title, and went the whole way without anyone scoring a point against her. In the finale, she dusted off Turkey’s Meryem Aslan Zeybek by an 11-0 score. At one point she had won 60 out of 61 bouts, including 39 in a row.
For the year 2011, she was named “Boxer of the Year” in Ireland, winning that award over several males, including Olympian Darren O’Neill and world-rated amateur Joe Ward, who got shut out of the Games.
On top of that, she carried the flag for the entire Irish Olympic delegation during the opening ceremonies.
Taylor is hardly a one-dimensional athlete; in fact, she represents Ireland in women’s soccer, and has also indulged in Gaelic football with a local team.
There is little doubt, however, that she is most polished with gloves on. Taylor has a very precise technique; she is obviously a class boxer, with very fast hands, and is extremely accurate with her punches. She will exhibit lateral movement as well as anyone in the women’s game, and the entire combination of skills is enough to easily outclass most of her opponents.
Taylor will not fight until August 6, when she is scheduled to take on the winner of a bout between Natasha Jonas of Great Britain and Queen Underwood of the U.S. She’s got quite a bit of familiarity with each of them. She has scored a 6-3 decision win over Jonas, and beat Underwood three times – twice by decisive margins and then a very competitive 18-16 verdict at the World Championships in 2010.
She is so proficient that she runs out of women to spar with her. Here you can see some video of Taylor sparring with two-time Olympic gold medalist and current WBA 122-pound champion Guillermo Rigondeaux: