Irish Times Sport Ireland Sportswoman for May
Katie Taylor often talks about her desire to leave a legacy in boxing, one that will inspire female fighters “of the next generation to dream big dreams”, as she put it. It would appear that that legacy is already kicking in, even while Taylor is still very much active, Kellie Harrington, Michaela Walsh and Aoife O’Rourke now all dreaming big Olympic dreams after qualifying for Tokyo in the last week - the ultimate dream, of course, to emulate Taylor’s golden 2012 achievement.
It was one of the fighters she beat en route to gold in London, Natasha Jonas, who Taylor met again in her latest professional world title fight, and just like that quarter-final meeting nine years ago, their bout in Manchester was, as the Bray woman described it, “a brilliant showcase for women’s boxing and boxing overall”.
She needed to use every ounce of her experience and wiliness, not to mention her speed and footwork, to withstand a gutsy challenge from the Liverpudlian who gave her one of her toughest fights yet, as evidenced by the judges’ scoring at the end - two of them gave it to Taylor by just a point, 96-95, the third scoring it 96-94 in favour of the Irish champion.
“It was a thrilling fight,” she said after, “it was probably a bit too exciting for my liking. It was definitely a toe-to-toe battle. I showed the heart of a champion and that’s what won me the fight in the end.”
The victory, in what was her 12th world title contest, saw Taylor retain her WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO lightweight titles and take her professional record to 18-0. After a couple of weeks’ rest back in Bray, Taylor returned to her Connecticut base to resume training, her next fight likely to be in Leeds in September when her opponent could be Estelle Mossely, one of the very few people to have a victory over Taylor in their CV - the French woman won their 2016 World Championship meeting before going on to win gold at the Rio Olympics.
Beyond that, Taylor is scheduled to fight again in December, a rematch with Jonas a possibility or a much anticipated fight against Amanda Serrano, while she is also eyeing up a meeting with Jessica McCaskill to give her a shot at becoming a two-weight undisputed world champion.
In other words, Taylor has no plans to hang up those gloves any time soon. Her legacy is already substantial, but she plans on making it even greater.