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Lightweight Katie Taylor from Bray, Co. Wicklow, Ireland began boxing in 1998. She comes from a family with a boxing background - her coach at the St. Fergal's Boxing Club in Bray is her father Peter who was 1986 Irish senior light heavyweight champion.

Katie first made Irish boxing history - at age 15  - on October 31 2001 in the first officially sanctioned women's bout ever held in Ireland.  She fought 16-year-old Alanna Audley (now Alanna Murphy) of Belfast at the National Stadium in Dublin in the first of three female contests on a sixteen-bout amateur card. Taylor won over three 90-second rounds by 23-12.  Irish Amateur Boxing Association President Dominic O'Rourke called the event "a momentous day for Irish boxing." 

Katie returned to National Stadium on 1 March 2002 to fight Candy Berry of England at 57 kg as part of a show that featured an Ireland vs. Canada senior men's tournament. Katie won this match by RSC-2.

Katie competed in the 60-kg division of the international Norway Box Cup in Oslo, Norway from 9-11 January 2004, defeating Ingrid Egner of Norway by 36-20 in the semi-final and Josefina Tengroth of Sweden by RSCO-2 in the final. Katie's strong performance in this tournament also earned her the Best Boxer of the Tournament award.

On February 27 2004 Katie topped the bill in an event sponsored by the Fermoy Boys/Girls Amateur Boxing Club. The full house of boxing fans at the Fermoy Rowing Club didn't see the rising Irish star for long, however, as she dispatched unbeaten Welsh opponent Lorna Cooper in just 30 seconds. "It was enough to let fans see just how good she is," insisted tournament organizer Pat Flynn, adding "she is an exceptional boxer and will take a lot of beating in the European championships later in the year."

On June 8-13 2004 she competed in the Third International "Italia" Women's Tournament in Rome, Italy.  Katie defeated Emanuela Pantani of Italy by a 22-6 margin in the quarter-final, Eva Wahlström of Finland by 39-25 in the semi-final and 2002 world 60-kg champion Jennifer Ogg of Canada by 31-28 in the final to win both her 60-kg division and the Best Boxer of Tournament award.

At the Third Women's European Boxing Championships in Riccione, Italy, Katie suffered a setback when she lost to reigning 63-kg world champion Yuliya Nemtsova of Russia by a 27-12 score. Taylor, who was Ireland's only representative in the tournament, had boxed well against a strong opponent and was surprised by the margin of victory awarded to the Russian. "It was most definitely a much closer fight that the score would suggest. I actually thought that I did enough to win." she said.  (Katie's future rival Gülsüm Tatar of Turkey won the 60-kg division of this tournament by a 25-12 margin over Eva Wahlström of Finland).

At the 20th Ahmet Comert Cup tournament on 19-25 April 2005 in Istanbul, Turkey, Katie defeated Cindy Orain of France by a RSCO-2 but lost her next fight to home-standing Gülsüm Tatar of Turkey by a 27-21 decision.

Katie made Irish boxing history again at age 18 in May 2005 when she became the first Irish woman to win a Gold Medal at the Senior European Championships.  Competing in Tønsberg, Norway, she stopped Eva Wahlström of Finland in the third round of their 60-kg lightweight final. Taylor held a 19-17 points lead when the contest was stopped after Wahlström suffered an eye injury. Taylor had opened her campaign with an impressive second round RSCO-2 stoppage over Lucie Bertaud of France, followed by a stirring semi-final clash with defending European champion Gülsüm Tatar of Turkey. At the end of this rematch with the Turkish boxer, the computer scoring was a 12-12 draw but Taylor won by a razor-thin 29-28 edge in countback (punches thrown).

At the 2005 World Championships in Podolsk, Russia, Katie won her September 26 preliminary bout over Pranamika Borah of India by a 34-22 score but she was ousted in the quarter-finals on September 28 by Kum Hui Hang of North Korea with a 28-13 loss. (The Korean herself lost by RSCO-2 in the semi-finals to eventual world champion Tatiana Chalaya of Chechnya, who clinched the title with a strong 49-24 win over Taylor's own arch rival - Gülsüm Tatar of Turkey.)

Two weeks later, on October 14, 2005 Katie was at the Convention Center in London, Ontario, Canada for a Canada vs. Ireland tournament. Katie defeated Sandra Bizier of Montreal by a 3-2 margin. Two days later in St. Catherine's, Ontario, fought an exhibition bout with Canada's Marianne Miller.

On January 27-29, 2006 at the 27th Norway Box Cup in Oslo, Norway, Katie won her 60-kg semi-final by walkover over Lucie Bertaud of France, then defeated 2005 54-kg world silver medalist Dina Burger of Switzerland by 27-25 in the final.

On March 11, 2006 at the National Stadium in Dublin Katie again faced Dina Burger of Switzerland. Katie made an excellent start building a comfortable lead and impressing ringsiders with her hand speed and footwork. Her Swiss opponent fought back strongly in the second and third rounds but Taylor came away with a 22-11 verdict (which some local observers thought may have been a little harsh on the visitor).

On March 18, 2006 in Cork, Ireland Katie won a close decision over Canadian National Junior Welterweight Champion Katie Dunn, who is trained at the Border City Boxing Club in Windsor, Ontario by former amateur and professional world champion Margaret Sidoroff Canty.

On 5-12 June 2006 in the First European Union Women's Championships in Porto Torres, Sardinia, Katie lost her quarter-final bout to Gülsüm Tatar of Turkey by a 24-13 margin. (Tatar went on to win the division with a 31-15 victory over Sandra Brugger of Switzerland in the semi-final and a 19-8 win over Anna Kasprzak of Poland in the final.) 

Katie began her run at the world title in 2006 with an excelent showing at the Witch Cup Tournament in Pecs, Hungary from 9-13 August 2006. She defeated Edina Pezdany of Hungary by RSC-1 in her quarter-final bount, Marlene K. Nielsen of Denmark by RSCO-2 in her semi-final and then won the Gold Medal with an RSCO-2 over Eva Wahlström of Finland.

At the 2006 European championships in September 2006 in Warsaw, Poland, Katie won her second European Gold medal in a row with a second round stoppage of reigning world champion Tatiana Chalaya of Chechnya. This time Taylor made short work of Chalaya, winning on the 15 point mercy rule with the scoring at 18-3. Katie also won the Best Boxer award in this tournament.

The win capped a big week for Katie who came through the tougher half of the draw to reach the final. She had qualified for the final with an 18-15 points win over her arch rival and reigning world silver medalist Gülsüm Tatar of Turkey.


Katie Taylor (L) gets a win over Tatar (R)

Taylor said, "I thought the final would have been a much tougher fight because she is the world champion but my preparations had gone brilliantly. I fought in Hungary in a multi nations tournament and then had a good training camp in Norway so preparations were excellent. It was a very proud moment for me and my dad Peter who was in my corner. I was also delighted to receive the boxer of the tournament award as I wasn't expecting it and that was really the icing on the cake. I would like to thank everyone at the IABA after this win as they have been behind me all the way over the last few years and have helped me enormously. I am now looking forward to competing in World Championships in India and I am expecting to be a very tough tournament as only the best will be there."

Irish Amateur Boxing Association High Performance Team Director Gary Keegan said: "Katie has been immense at these Championships, she's fought out of her skin. It's truly a world class performance and to win the Europeans two years in a row is phenomenal. To stop the Russian in two rounds in the way that she did was an exceptional performance. She's proved that she is the top boxer in the world in her weight category and this win ranks up there with the great sporting achievements of Irish athletes in any sport."

Keegan also praised coach Peter Taylor: "Peter has worked extremely hard with Katie and our other boxers over the last few years. This is a proud moment for him and everyone in the Irish Amateur Boxing Association shares in that pride and celebrates a truly remarkable victory."

At the 2006 Venus Box Cup in Vejle, Denmark on 19–22 October 2006, Katie won her preliminary over Elena Gorshkova of Russia by a 36-20 score, then stopped Marlene K. Nielsen of Denmark RSCO-2 in her quarter-final and Romanian Florina Popa on the 15-point rule (17-2) in her semi-final to set up a 60-kg final with Lucie Beataud of France. She then had to pull out of the competition because of an injury to her nose, looking ahead to competing in the Fourth AIBA Women's Senior World Championships in New Delhi, India a little under a month later.

Her return to the AIBA World Championships at the Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi, India saw Katie win five bouts in a row to take the 60-kg Gold Medal. On November 18, 2006 she stopped US champion Caroline Barry by a 16-1 score on the 15 point mercy rule in the first round. On November 19 she again beat Eva Wahlström of Finland, this bout being stopped at 19-4 on the 15 point mercy rule in the second round. On November 21 in the quarter-final Katie beat Florina Popa of Romania 20-5, also on the 15 point mercy rule in the second round. On November 22 in the semi-final Katie defeated the defending world champion Tatiana Chalaya of Chechnya for the second straight time, by an impressive 23-6 margin (the mercy rule was not invoked and the bout went the distance). Tatiana appeared wary of Katie after losing to her in the European Championship final and did not commit herself much, allowing a patient and methodical Taylor to pile up points.

On November 23, 2006 Katie faced Annabella Farias of Argentina in the 60-kg final.  Farias, who had defeated 2005 Asian champion Mitchel Martinez of the Philippines by an 18-13 margin in the other semi-final, was an unknown quantity to Taylor, but Farias had also defeated 2006 Venus Cup winner Lucie Bertaud of France on her way to their showdown in the world final. In a boxing clinic, Katie worked behind her trade-mark jab, put textbook combinations together and caught her opponent with occasional big shots to defeat Annabella by a 31-14 margin over the full three rounds.

Taylor declared “I am absolutely thrilled with the win. I came out here to win a medal and it is a dream come true for me. It has been a great week and I am very proud to have represented my country at these championships.”

Peter Taylor, who was in his daughter's corner, said "Last year we suffered a setback at these championships but Katie was determined to get it right this time and she did just that and more. It is a great feeling. She boxed brilliantly and even though it went the distance the winning margin was still seventeen points and she was in control all the way. She was also the only boxer in the lightweight division that had to fight five times to win the final as all the rest got byes in the preliminary rounds. We did not get much sparring done before the championships because of Katie’s nose injury but she was still in top form and no one really came near her out here all week."

Irish Amateur Boxing Association President Dominic O'Rourke said:"We had every confidence in her going out there but the way she won her fights against some of the top boxers in the world was unbelievable. Everyone associated with Irish amateur boxing is immensely proud of this achievement."

Gary Keegan, who heads the High Performance Program in which Taylor  participates, said "She is not only a wonderful talent, but she has the temperament to match it. It has been a pleasure to watch her work with the High Performance squad and her father, Pete, has been a key player as well as an inspirational figure in all her performances. Katie really was magnificent in India. I thought that her semi final win over the Russian world champion was simply brilliant as was her win today ... This achievement is up there with all the great moments in Irish sport and she totally deserves this as she has worked incredibly hard over the last few years. We are absolutely thrilled with this win."

On May 12, 2007 in Istanbul, Turkey, in the 60-kg semifinal of the Ahmet Comert tournament, Katie won by RSCO-2 over Cindy Orain of France, setting up another showdown with Gulsum Tatar of Turkey who defeated Marlene Nielsen of Denmark also by RSCO-2. 

On May 13, 2007 in Istanbul, Turkey, Gulsum Tatar of Turkey defeated Katie by a 16-13 score to win the 60-kg division of the 2007 Ahmet Comert tournament.

On August 9, 2007 in Pecs, Hungary Katie advanced to the semi-finals of the Witch Cup with a victory over Cindy Orain of France. Taylor stopped the Frenchwoman, ranked 11th in the world, on the 15 point rule in round one (15-0). Peter Taylor, who was in his daughter's corner in Pecs, said she was in top form:  'Katie forced Orain into a standing count in the first and I think the margin of victory speaks for itself. She was in top form last night and she has got off to a great start.'

On August 10, 2007 in Pecs, Hungary Katie defeated her arch-rival Gulsum Tatar of Turkey by an 11-5 margin to advanced to the 60-kg final of the Witch Cup.

On August 11, 2007 n Pecs, Hungary Katie won the 60-kg division of the Witch Cup with an RSCO-2 win over Eva Wahlstrom of Fnland.

On October 15, 2007 at the Sixth European Women's Championships in Vejle, Denmark, Katie got her European lightweight title defence off to a good start with a second-round stoppage of Hrtistina Athanasopoulou of Greece on the 15-point mercy rule. 

On October 17, 2007 Katie advanced to the semi-finals of the tournament with a stunning first-round knock-out of Spain's Mc de la Guia Guerra. Taylor dropped the tall Spaniard with a left hook after just 30 seconds and her opponent was counted out.
 
On October 18, 2007  she defeated Ukraininan southpaw Yana Zavyalova by an 11-4 margin in the tournament semi-final. Taylor was ahead 10-1 at the end of the second before the Ukrainian rallied to take the only round anyone had won from Taylor in the tournament. Zavyalova had defeated Natalia Kalinowski of Germany by a 20-6 margin in her quarter-final.

On October 20, 2007 Katie was crowned 60-kg champion for the third year in a row after an RSC-2 victory over Sandra Brugger of Switzerland. Taylor, who had been ahead 8-0 at the end of the first round won by the 15-point mercy rule in round two.  Brugger had edged Russia's Ayzanat Gadzhieva 8-6 in the other semi-final. Taylor had previously defeated Brugger in a challenge bout in Bray last summer.

On November 3, 2007 at the University of Illinois in Chicago, Katie  claimed yet another victory by stopping three-time Pan-American  champion Katie Dunn of Canada on the mercy rule (15-0) in the first round. Taylor, who normally boxes at 60 kg, was fighting Dunn at
at light welterweight (63 kg).  The bout, which took place before the Men's World Championships finals, was being used to help promote women's boxing as a future Olympic sport.

Katie Taylor was awarded the Irish Times/VHI Healthcare Sportswoman of the Year Award for 2007 at the Western Hotel in Dublin on January 18, 2008.

In March 2008 in the 60-kg division at the Women's International Tournament held in Stupino, Russia, Katie defeated Gulsum Tatar of Turkey 16-5 in her preliminary bout on March 18th, Tatiana Bondareva of Russia 12-6 in her March 19th quarterfinal, Alexandra Siderenko of Ukraine 17-5 in her semifinal on March 20th and finally Dariy Abramova of Russia 21-6 on March 21st to win the division and the "Best Boxer in Tournament" award. 

Peter Taylor said after the tournament: "Today's final went the distance and Katie is delighted with that as she wanted to get as many rounds as possible under her belt and she certainly got that this week as all her four fights went the full three rounds.  Russia is one of the top amateur boxing nations in the world and beating Russian boxers here is a bit unheard of these days but Katie managed to do it twice this week and we are thrilled with this win and the gold medal. The overall standard of competition here was very high and that is another plus as Katie was competing against quality opposition all week. Overall she got twelve rounds of boxing under her belt in her four bouts and we are very happy with that".

At the Fifth AIBA Women's World Championships in Ningbo, China in November, 2008, Katie successfully defended her 60-kg world title with a convincing 13-2 win over home-country star Cheng Dong of China in the final, and was also named as the Best Boxer of the Tournament.   Irish team manager Anna Moore said of Katie's final performance: “Katie was 6-0 up at the end of the first round and there was no stopping her after that.”  

Her closest fight in the 2008 World Championship tournament came in her second preliminary bout in which she was held to just a 4-3 victory by 2008 Witch Cup 60-kg champion Danuse Dilhofova of the Czech Republic. Taylor had jumped to a 3-0 lead in the second round against Dilhofova but was then penalized two points for holding (a controversial call that was later officially protested by the Irish team).  Dilhofova raised the anxiety level in the third round by evening the score at 3-3 with the only punch that she landed, before Taylor landed again with a crucial winning score.  Taylor had previously defeated Australia's Emma Carruthers by an emphatic 20-3 margin.  She went on to stop Peralta Celeste of Argentina in the first round of her quarterfinal, after forcing Celeste into two standing counts before the fight was stopped with Katie up 10-1.  She outscored Ayzznat Gadzhieva of Russia 20-2 in her semifinal, leading the Russian by 5-1 after one round and 11-2 after two.

Katie was awarded the International Boxing Association (AIBA) Female Boxer of the Year for 2008 in Moscow on December 12, 2008.  Her spectacular success in 2008 also led to her being named as the Irish Times/Irish Sports Council Sportswoman of the Year for 2008, repeating the honor she received in 2007.

On March 21, 2009 at the O2 in Dublin, Ireland, Katie won a 27-3 win over thee time Pan American champion Caroline Barry of the United States on the undercard of a pro WBA super bantamweight world title fight between Bernard Dunne of Ireland and Ricardo Cordoba of Panama. Speaking after the fight, Taylor, who had stopped Barry in the final of the 2006 World Championships in New Delhi, said she was stunned by the welcome she received from Irish boxing fans. She said: "I couldn't believe the reception I got - it was an amazing experience for me. I knew it was going to be a tough fight and well done to her for never backing off."

On April 19, 2009 in the 60-kg division of the women's Ahmet Comert Cup in Istanbul, Turkey, Katie defeated Ozlem Dinc of Turkey by a 5-1 margin to win yet another gold medal. She was also voted best female boxer and best boxer (male or female) of this prestigious tournament.  On the way to the final, Katie had defeated Alexandra Siderenko (Ukraine) by a 12-2 score on April 16th, Danus Dilhofova (Czech Republic) by a 11-2 on April 17, and
Daria Abhramova (Russia) by 21-7 on April 18.

On July 11, 2009 at the Sports Palace in St Petersburg, Russia, Katie won the 60-kg gold medal at the Multi Nations tournament beating Russian lightweight Natalie Bondareva 6-3 after Bondareva took two standing eight counts in the first round. Katie had previously defeated China's Dong Cheng by 10-2 in a preliminary, Russian Ayzanet Gazhieva by a 17-4 margin in her quarter-final, and Ukrainian Alexandra Siderenko 26-11 in the semi-final. Taylor said: “The competition here was great, it was like a mini World Championships because the best were here in order to put on a show for the IOC and we certainly did that. It was a great competition.”

Taylor is supported by the Irish Sports Council’s International Carding Scheme under which she has access to sports science, medical, nutritional and other supports.
 


Speaking on November 23, 2006 John O'Donoghue T.D., Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism congratulated Katie on her world championship win, saying. "This is a terrific accomplishment for Katie, who has been a great ambassador for women's boxing in Ireland. Her outstanding victory today has confirmed her status as the world number one and I wish to offer her my sincere congratulations on this marvelous achievement. Ireland can be truly proud of this tremendous young talent. Her ability as a sportswoman has been well known in Ireland for a number of years having won 40 caps playing soccer for Ireland from U.17 up. To reach the pinnacle of her sport at such a young age leaves little doubt about her ability to continue successfully representing Ireland on the world stage."  Irish Sports Council chief John Treacy added: "She has worked incredibly hard to realize her goal, supported all the way by a magnificent team in her father, and as part of the IABA’s high performance set-up led by Gary Keegan. She is a truly outstanding Irish athlete and it is a very proud moment for all involved, and indeed the country in general.”

Katie Taylor's impressive athletic accomplishments are not limited to boxing - she has is also a key player in Irish Women’s soccer!  She competed in last season’s Football Association of Ireland (FAI) Women’s Senior Cup Final where her club were runners-up to Dundalk. Previously, she played for Lourdes Celtic and St. James Gate in the Dublin Women’s Soccer League (DWSL). She has also won 40 national caps in soccer, graduating through the Under-17 and Under-19 international levels before joining the senior team. In 2006 Katie played in three World Cup qualifying matches - against Russia, Switzerland, and the USA - and was voted Player of the Match in Ireland's 2-0 win over Switzerland in April. This was Ireland’s first-ever appearance in the World Cup qualifying phase and Taylor's performances retain their seeding in the top 20 nations of Europe.

FAI President David Blood said of Taylor's boxing world title: "As a footballer and a boxer, Katie has proved to be a wonderful ambassador for Ireland and everybody within Irish football is absolutely delighted at her magnificent achievement. There are very few people in the world who have participated so successfully in two different sports at the highest level and it just goes to show what a remarkable person Katie is."

Irish women's senior soccer team manager Noel King also expressed delight that she had been crowned a world boxing champion. "She is a tremendous competitor and whether it is football or boxing she will always give it 100 per cent commitment. I am thrilled for her, and her family, who have always been tremendously supportive of her football and boxing careers."

Niamh O’Donoghue, the chair of the Women’s Football Association of Ireland, added that "Everybody in women’s football is immensely proud of Katie’s achievement. She has shown that it is possible for Irish women to conquer the world and we hope that this will now rub off on our international teams as they continue to progress up the world rankings."

If it comes to a choice between the "beautiful game" and the "sweet science" boxing wins out for Taylor, who says "I love playing for Ireland, and I love soccer, but when it comes down to it I would choose boxing as my number one sport as I'd miss it too much if I wasn't involved."  Katie's mother Bridget echoes her sentiments as she is more concerned when her daughter is on the soccer pitch than when someone is attempting to pummel her inside a boxing ring. "I'd honestly be more worried about her getting injured playing football," she says.

Katie, who is also a student at University College Dublin, now dreams of Olympic gold, but the dream is still on hold - as it is for so many female amateur boxers.

"It's very disappointing that it hasn't been included in the Olympics yet," she said. "I was very disappointed when it was turned down for 2008 but hopefully it will be included for the 2012 games. It is every athlete's dream to represent their country at the Olympics and I'm no different and all we want is the same opportunity as other athletes. First we were told that women's boxing would be included for Beijing, and then we were told 'no', which was devastating. However I will be 26 when the Olympic Games are held in London and hopefully women's boxing will be included and I will be given the opportunity to represent my country at the Olympics. Men are allowed to box, so women should be allowed to as well. It is a very tough sport, but I love the training. The best thing is winning the gold medal, standing up on the podium and hearing your national anthem. There is nothing like it."

IABA High Performance Program director Gary Keegan remains hopeful that the sport will be featured in the London games but he also sounded a note of caution: "I'd like to see the day when women's boxing is an Olympic sport and I think the London games in 2012 could be used as a trial for the sport. One of the issues could be that it affects the quota in terms of the number of male boxers allowed in the games."

The IOC's decision about whether to include women's boxing in London is expected by October 2009. "'All the signs are good and hopefully they will make the right decision,' says an expectant Katie Taylor. 

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