Katie Taylor is on familiar home territory tonight when she enters the ring at the Royal Hotel in Bray . Taylor’s opponent is Swedish 60kg champion and former European bronze medal holder, Helena Falk, in what will be the Bray native’s first contest since winning a 4th successive European Union title in Katowice in June. Falk is a highly experienced fighter who has competed for some years at the highest level – one of her most recent fights was in the Strandja tournament in Bulgaria in February when she was deemed to have lost 1-0 to Denica Eliseeva in that ill-fated tournament where Taylor suffered a similar fate in the final. But what do we know about Helena Falk?
A 32 years old Fashion designer from Vällingby near Stockholm Falk is a former Kung Fu and Karate champion who only took up boxing in 2007 to improve her Kung Fu skills. Noting the different techniques and fitness levels required for boxing, Falk concentrated on improving her punching ability and “Then I fell in love!” (with boxing). Falk who designs her own sportswear ,lives in Vällingby with Partner William and their two children, Alexander (8) and Valentina (6). She boxes out of the BK Örnen club and is coached by Petri Eriksson. For Falk,as for Taylor, the most important aim just now is to qualify for the 2012 Olympics.
Combining family life with boxing at Olympic standard level must surely be tough? Says the likeable Swede: – “I still think that it is worth all the hard times, because I see myself as a role model . My children will learn to believe in themselves, follow their path and realize that it is indeed possible to be successful if you dare to try. And this effort is not for ever . After the Olympics I’m going to retire”. Since Amateur boxers must retire at 34 she would , in any event ,not be eligible to compete in Rio in 2016.
Her fight against Taylor tonight is the third time they meet in the ring and she is quietly confident of victory this time round. Her main aim for the next 12 months though is to qualify for the Olympics. “For the first time in life I was able to really concentrate on a sport. I have established myself in my profession, become a mother. I see it as a break in life, a fun challenge. Then, when I sit there as a grandmother it would be nice to be able to tell the grandchildren that grandma went to the Olympics” . She calls it “Mission 2012” . “The road to the Olympics is hard. Above everything, just to qualify, I must win, win, win all the competitions and especially do well in the China qualifier”.
For Falk the first tough step on ‘the Road to London’ will begin in Bray tonight. There are some 12 bouts on the “Bray Boxing Club” promotion at the Royal Hotel, commencing 7.30pm and great value for money at 15 euros. Tickets available from the Royal Hotel Bray.