Katie Taylor defeated Liverpool southpaw Natasha Jonas on a 6-3 score line in Pazardjik and thus advances to Saturday evening’s final where she meets Bulgarian champion Denitza Eliseeva .
It was not the first time that these two have clashed – indeed the local was lucky to gain a 1-0 verdict against Sweden’s Helena Falk on Friday afternoon. There have been some very odd results here this week, and all in favour of local competitors. Taylor has defeated Eliseeva on previous occasions that the two have met in major championships.
Against Jonas, Taylor had to be near her brilliant best. Jonas is going to be a major threat if selected by Great Britain for London 2012. She is one of three possible contenders for the 60kg place in the GB team , the others being 19 years old Londoner Ruth Raper and Hartlepool’s Amanda Coulson, well known to Irish fight fans having boxed in Dublin, Cork and Dungarvan in recent years though yet to beat Taylor.
No luck in Friday’s semi-final for Drimnagh middleweight Sinead Kavanagh who was disqualified in her bout with the 25 years old Spanish titleholder Tamara Garcia. Ms Kavanagh was disqualified in the fourth round having received three public warnings for holding .
Taylor has won her last two European Union titles in finals against Eliseeva though she would do well on this occasion to gain the upper hand early on since Eliseeva has managed to win all three of her fights in Pazardjik this week 1-0. One of her opponents, the tough, normally uncomplaining Norwegian Ingrid Egner had this to say after their fight :
“After the first round the score was 0-0. It’s hard to get points here with this scoring system so even though I knew I should have had some points I was calm and (coach) Martin instructed me just to keep on working like I did. In the second round I really worked it. It was a one-man show and I felt like I was working the bag. I landed a lot of good shots and she didn’t touch me. Came in to the corner and I said to Martin; this is fun. The score was still 0-0. I was thinking is this a joke?
In the third round I continued thinking I must soon get a single point (or are these East European judges blind)?. And then she got a point. Score after the 3rd round 1-0. I said to Martin “I’m losing. I cannot get any points”, he just smiled and said I should have been up with at least 15 points and he told me to punch from start to end in the fourth and last round. And so I did and she looked f* hurt. Anyway, I lost the match 1-0. I felt the whole thing was a joke so I raised my arm smiling, showing a V with my fingers and the crowd shared.
After the match she came up to me, like telling she’s sorry. It’s not her fault. In these situations you cannot blame the boxers. All in all I am happy I got two matches and a lot of things are falling into places with my boxing. Especially I did not get stressed and I continued working systematically even though I didn’t get points. Old me would have been stressed!”
Egner is a good competitor who rarely complains. I saw her compete well against Taylor at Alexandra Palace in the 2010 Haringey Cup where she won the judge’s verdict in one of the four rounds. The Scandinavian boxers have felt very hard done by in Pazardjik but of course we have seen many other strange decisions in Eastern Europe in recent years. Team Taylor though will be well aware of the dangers and will seek to lead from start to finish.