HAVING WON IRELAND’S first Olympic gold medal since 1996, it’s hard to recall the recent history when Katie Taylor was not the apple of Ireland’s eye.
Occasions when her exploits in the ring were greeted with relative apathy. The attitude towards her merely reflected that towards women’s boxing.
Post-Olympics, though, Taylor believes her sport’s first appearance on the biggest stage, has forced the world to sit up, take notice and give credit where credit is overdue.
“It’s been like that for years,” Taylor told Eoin McDevitt when asked about the strong personalities at the peak of the lightweight division:
“I’m so happy that it went so well and everyone can see that now. I wanted to go over and really open peoples eyes to women’s boxing and that’s exactly what we did. It was the best week possible for women’s boxing and it’s going to be there to stay now in the Olympics which is the most incredible thing.”
The media circus following the Bray fighter has (rightly) been unyielding, and she admits that end of the bargain is ‘probably the hardest part’ for her to deal with. However, the subject of women’s boxing is the one she evidently loves to talk about. A crusade for her sport’s inclusion at the Olympics has been proven wholly just.
“I think people were definitely shocked at the level (of quality), but we’ve been saying it for years and I’m just so happy that people can see that now. For years and years people were patting me on the back going, ‘well done, you won another gold medal’. But they didn’t really realise how hard I had to work and how close the fights actually were.
“So I’m happy people seeing how tough I had to work to get these medals – every competition is a tough competition. It’s international boxing. One or two points can be the difference between winning and losing some of these fights.”