Katie Taylor today joins the Irish training camp in Ukraine, part of her preparation for the 2012 World Championships in China next month but before leaving added two more comprehensive wins to her record, now standing at 124 wins from 131 contests. Here we take a look at this weekends bouts in Cork and Dungarvan.
Cork City Friday 20th March:
A third win in eight days for Katie as the the World number one comprehensively outpointed Breaux Bridge,Louisiana born Liz Leddy before a very enthusiastic and knowledgeable 500+ crowd at the Silver Springs Hotel in Cork City. Liz Leddy, whose brave fight against depression we reported here last week, was just as brave in the ring as she was when she successfully fought her greatest fight – that against alcohol abuse and drugs, in recent years.
The Cork tournament was organised by the St John’s B.C in Fermoy and once again praise to Patrick Flynn, Seamus Coleman and the rest of the committee for having put together a top class bill, and having to cope with so many changes of opponent for Taylor as other top U.S stars such as Cashmere Jackson , N’yeetah Sherman and Bertha Aracil were forced to withdraw due to injury or visa difficulties.
Taylor is no stranger to Cork as in recent years she has fought in Fermoy, Ballyhooley,Youghal and at the Rochestown Park Hotel so no great surprise that Cork fans have ‘adopted’ Taylor as if she was one of their own.
Full marks though to Liz Leddy, the 30 years old U.S star ,now based in Portland, Maine. She came out aggressively from the first bell and attempted to take the fight to Taylor. No way was she prepared to allow Taylor to take the initiative from the off. Taylor’s response was fast and furious – three of her trademark left hooks in the opening phase. More of the same in round two though at a slightly less frenetic pace.
Another good round from the American in round three, though visibly tiring but by then Taylor was well in command.
Hardly surprisingly round four was one where both boxers were tiring though Taylor did add a punishing right hander which resulted in a standing count of eight for the gallant American.
Later the Bray woman after paid fulsome praise to Leddy went on : “I’m very happy with that performance. Liz Leddy was great. It’s very useful to box against the different styles. We knew what to expect when fighting her – it was non-stop attack for four rounds. But we did well – our tactics were perfect”.
She told BreakingNews.ie : “”The crowd were unbelievable,” adding that “They always get behind you so much in these kind of nights. It was an amazing atmosphere to fight in, which helped make the night so enjoyable. I think I’ve fought in Cork four or five times now and each time it is fantastic”
Of her hopes for qualification for the Olympic she again warned reporters of the need to avoid being over confident: “I just take each day as it comes. I keep getting congratulations for qualifying for the Olympics – I think I’ve been getting them for about a year now but I’m far from qualified! All I can do is go to China in the best condition I can be in, and perform to the best of my ability”.
And her hopes for the months ahead: “I’m getting stronger and fitter. I’ve lots of work to do and a bit of fine tuning to my condition. By the time China comes around, I should be absolutely spot on.”
“It’s a big year with the Euros and the world champs and then hopefully the Olympics. First things first though, I want to retain my world championship and come home with my fourth world title.”
” Dungarvan 31st March:
For Taylor and Leddy and their coaches it was on to Dungarvan on Saturday and the Crotty Memorial Tournament in honour of that late great Dungarvan boxer Peter Crotty . Another “full house” and another night greatly appreciated by followers of the ‘noble art’ in Waterford and surrounding counties.
This was a superbly organised tournament, as has been the case for some years now. Top marks to Gerry O’Mahoney and his team. As with Cork, Taylor is well respected in Dungarvan having boxed here on previous occasions including a memorable win over GB Boxing Olympic hopeful, Amanda Coulson.
Leddy replaced another American N’yeetah Sherman who suffered a facial injury in training earlier in the week. The young 19 years old Sherman, from Ohio, had reportedly put a Professional debut on a Miguel Cotto v Floyd Mayweather world title bill, ‘on hold’ to have a crack at Taylor – alas that was not to be but the Dungarvan crowd found in Leddy (who has Clare and Cavan ancestors) an opponent who again went out – and gave it her all – to upset the odds and reverse the previous evening’s result.
For Taylor though Saturday night was her 125th win from 132 bouts – a remarkable record especially when one considers that the defeats include some debatable decisions against such as Gulsum Tatar, Sofia Ochigava and Denitza Eliseeva earlier in her career.
Taylor again proved too strong for the Portland BC fighter who took two standing counts in the third and another in the fourth and final round of Saturday’s clash.
Abbeyside’s Gerry O’Mahoney, Secretary of the local club and one of the founders of the Dungarvan BC in 1988, now President of the IABA’s Munster Council ,paid tribute to Taylor and to Leddy as well as other boxers on the night’s show , adding:
“It was a fantastic performance from Katie.She was on top all the way through against a tough opponent”.
“We’re delighted with the turn out for the show and the quality of boxing and it was a great night all round.”
And so, Taylor has won her final four bouts on Irish soil before the World’s in China, which also acts as the only women’s Olympic qualifier.
The fact that Tyrone McCullagh and Chris Phelan have been added to the boxing squad now in the training camp will ensure that she has some good sparring partners in Ukraine.
But as she has warned so often, the toughest bouts are those ahead in China. No one though could be better prepared for the battles ahead !