DESPITE HER FATHER, coach and mentor voicing a wish that Katie Taylor will retire from boxing as a 26-year-old Olympic Champion, the woman herself has vowed to fight on.
Pete Taylor has coached his daughter throughout her career and told the assembled media post-fight: “I’d live to be 100 if it wasn’t for her boxing.”
However, the Bray native sporting gold left nobody in doubt that she enjoys what she does. When asked whether she would take heed of her father’s advice, Taylor said:
“No, I have no intentions whatsoever to stop (boxing). I’ve another 10 years left in me…”
The last quip was intended as a joke, a pointed barb at the elder Taylor. When the laughter ended, the boxer moved to clarify that the decade ahead may not actually include another Olympic outing as she will weigh up the option of a professional career.
“I’m going to definitely continue to box, but I don’t know what I’ll do: whether I turn professional or stay amateur, I don’t know. I’ll have to sit down and talk about that over the next few weeks.”
Taylor arrived at the Games – the first to include women’s boxing – as the World Champion and overwhelming favourite to take the lightweight gold medal. Though today she admitted that she had been nervous pre-fight, she took up the gauntlet of each bout with a remarkable blend of fearless, clinical boxing.
“There’s always going to be pressure on every single contest,” Taylor responded when asked about her method of dealing with such intense pressure, “but it’s pressure I put myself under as much as other people’s expectations. It’s been like that ever since I started boxing.”
Pete would reveal that nerves were not a factor for him during the bout. Instead, he was confident that no other result could ever arrive.
“It was actually the most relaxed we were.” The proudest father in London nodded at Billy Walsh, “I knew it was Katie’s destiny to be Olympic Champion - When we went a point down I was never concerned, I knew it was destiny.”
Katie, meanwhile, was keen to stress how she has tried to treat the Games as she would have any other tournament, but this meeting of female boxers was different to any other in history. Taylor hailed the “intense” crowd who made the ExCel feel like a home venue, even in her quarter final bout with Team GB’s Natasha Jonas.
“I’ve just continued to do what I’ve always done, really. Nothing’s going to change when I get back home,” at this point, it appeared to dawn on the boxer that life at Bray Boxing Club will actually take some time to return to normal. She turned to Walsh and her father to smile and ask, “I don’t know. Is it?
“I’m just going to take a few weeks off and when I go back training I’ll just do what I’ve always done and take each fight as it comes along.”
The events she competes in may change, but it appears that the woman will not.