Katie Taylor of Ireland is one step away from what many people expected of her right from the beginning, which is an Olympic gold medal.
Of course, there will be one more obstacle in the way.
Taylor easily got by her semifinal lightweight match with Mavzuna Chorieva of Tajikstan, landing with her precision punches early and bringing out the noise from the throng at the ExCel Arena, where the Irish gal has become a star, even though she’s only had to win a couple of bouts thus far.
The score at the end of the first round was 3-1, and Taylor extended her lead to three points at the end of two periods. Then it kind of became an exhibition of her talents from that point forward.
Going into the final round there was no question of the outcome. Taylor’s economical, efficient style just kept Chorieva at bay. The final tally of 17-9 was not unexpected.
Taylor is the true superstar of women’s amateur boxing, and surely if she elects to pursue a pro career she will be the face of that part of the sport as well. She has not been defeated many times in the ring, but one of the people who has taken her measure, at least on one occasions, will be waiting for her in the gold medal match.
Sofya Ochigava of Russia, who is the second seed in the tournament, got by her semifinal bout against Adriana Araujo of Brazil, and although it may not have been as easy as Taylor’s bout, it was still decisive. Araujo is capable, for sure, and she’s come a long way. A one-time soccer player who turned to boxing as a way of keeping fit, she was the only female competitor remaining from Latin America, and she gave it her all. In fact, she was even at the end of the first round (3-3). But ultimately Ochigava pulled away, winning each of the next three rounds by two points. The final score was 17-11.
Ochigava once defeated Taylor in a 2010 tournament in the Czech Republic, but most recently Taylor had the big advantage, winning by an 11-7 decision to win a fourth straight world championship in China in May.