Ireland’s only Gold medal winner at London 2012 has given a wide ranging interview to TV3’s ‘Ireland AM’ programme which we include at the end of this article.
In the interview she covered various issues from a possible World title bid on the Pro circuit to defending her Olympic crown in Rio, possible early retirement plans, being an inspiring role model and of course the absence of her Dad, Pete from her corner at recent club tournaments as well as at the recent Irish Elite championships where brother Lee was in her corner.
Taylor is not the shy young woman of yesteryear but has grown with confidence since London 2012.
She has her own company and an excellent agent in Mark Devlin from Devlin Sports who is Katie’s Manager and has been an integral part of Team Taylor for the past 5 years, working behind the scenes with Katie’s Sponsors and Partners on a day to day basis.
Her business is flourishing, so too to her sponsorships with such as Toyota, Lucozade Sky Sports and Aramark to name but four of a dozen or more companies who regularly utilise her services for business launches – not always sports related.
Katie is proud to be associated with a number of deserving causes close to her heart including Zest4Kids, Bray Lakers and the Wicklow Hospice Foundation.
She holds strong Christian beliefs following her Mum Bridget’s example and frequently thanks God for her successes in the ring. She has always spoken openly about the role of God in her life.
Her strong, Christian faith plays a central role in every aspect of her life including her boxing. Before entering the ring Katie always takes inspiration by reading a number of Psalms that she finds are particularly relevant to her sport and her life.
When I interviewed the Bray woman, a few years back, at the National Stadium in Dublin, prior to London 2012, she was even then very concerned about her Dad’s health due to the great pressure of his being both her coach and her Dad, and felt that it would be in his best interests medically to ‘retire from her corner’ albeit she knew that it would not be until after London 2012.
Life is rarely as straight forward as one would wish and clearly in recent months family life has not been as smooth as it once was so hardly surprisingly she has not been very forthcoming constantly suggesting to media enquirers that it would be best to talk to Pete himself if they had further queries.
At the time of the Irish Elite final, Pete had said he had every intention of returning for either the Olympic qualifiers in Turkey in April or the World Championships in Kazakhstan next May, and revealed that Katie’s brother Lee would take his place in the ring alongside long-time family friend and Irish HPU Coach Zaur Antia.
He also told the Irish Times recently:
“I’m taking a break from the corner. After years it can be stressful watching your daughter fight. But I’ll be there in the crowd in the front. We are trying new things at the moment so we’ll see how it goes this time.”
It does though now seem unlikely that Pete will be in her corner for the European Olympic qualifiers and maybe not in Astana or indeed in Rio.
On the subject of possible retirement, she indicated that she had no immediate intention of hanging up her gloves and clearly would like to add a Pro belt to the eighteen major titles she has won for herself, her family and her country in major International championships.
Whether that will be as a member of the AIBA’s WSB or APB or one of the original Professional organisations like WBC, WBA or WBO no one can say, not even Katie herself. With the recent confirmation that Pro boxers can compete in future Olympic Games, she could yet carry on until at least Tokyo, maybe longer.
The AIBA certainly would ensure that any offer to her would likely be more than any current male AIBA boxer is receiving for she has long being regarded as one of the main reasons why women’s boxing is in the Olympic Games at all and for the AIBA to potentially lose their ‘jewel in their crown’ at a time when they are endeavouring to increase the number of weights for women would be a devastating blow especially if to a major competitor.
Would she like to turn pro? She said:
“I think it’s something I’d like to do. I’m not sure if it’s after Rio. At some stage I’d like to turn professional and give the professional game a go. It would be nice to try and win a world professional title as well.”
She’s keen to emphasise:
“People keep talking about Rio but I actually haven’t qualified yet. I’m just looking forward to the next few weeks and hopefully getting over the line. It would be a dream come true for me again.”
Clearly she believes that if she qualifies the expectations of Rio 2016 won’t be as intense as London 2012:
“It’s great to have that experience, I think experience is everything. I don’t think the pressure is going to be as much as I felt in London. I felt the pressure of everyone on my shoulders. Everyone expected me to win gold. I hope to continue to box. I’m not planning on hanging up my gloves yet. I feel like I’m very fresh, I feel like I have plenty more years left in me. Two-time Olympic champion sounds good.”
You can hear the full interview via the TV3 link on the ‘Ireland AM’ slot: http://www.tv3.ie/3player/show/809/105779/0/Katie-Taylor
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