OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALLIST Katie Taylor has doubled down on her return to the ring — by scheduling her first two fights just 48 hours apart.
The world number one will face Poland’s Karolina Graczyk on 22 February, two days before she headlines the sold-out “Road to Rio” card against Maike Klueners.
Taylor’s four-round bout against Graczyk, her first fight since winning lightweight gold, takes place on finals night of the National Elite Championships at the Citywest Hotel in Dublin.
John Joe Nevin, Paddy Barnes, Michael Conlan, Darren O’Neill and Adam Nolan will all be in action at this year’s championships, marking the first time that the entire Olympic boxing squad has competed at the same event since London.
The championships begin next Friday, 8 February, with the preliminary rounds at the National Stadium in Dublin. Tommy Murphy, president of the Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA), said the decision to move the finals to the larger Citywest venue was not motivated by financial reasons.
“The collective decision to move the finals was taken with due regard to the fact that the Citywest Hotel has a much larger capacity than the National Stadium,” Murphy said.
Basically, we want to ensure that boxing fans will have the opportunity to see our boxers live and get a sense of the excitement generated in the ExCel Arena during the London Olympics.
Taylor and Graczyk, 26, met in the final of the 2011 European Union Championships, a fight which Taylor completely dominated and won 25-9 to secure her fourth consecutive gold medal at the event.
Taylor fights Klueners on 24 February in Dublin’s Bord Gáis Energy Theatre. Yulia Tsiplakova, the reigning Ukranian champion and world number 20 at 57kg, will be the opponent for a second bout at the same venue on 22 March.