Katie Taylor upgraded to at least a silver medal at the London Olympics today following a controlled semi-final win over Mavzuna Chorieva of Tajikistan. The Bray lightweight, who was guaranteed at least bronze going into today’s four-rounder, posted a 17-9 decision over the 2012 AIBA World bronze medalist at the ExCel in London.
Irish boxing fans once again provided an emotionally charged backdrop to another triumph for the Co. Wicklow woman this afternoon.
The level of support Taylor is receiving is likely to hit fever pitch tomorrow when she meets Russian southpaw Sofya Ochigava – who beat (17-11) Brazil’s Adrianna Araujo in the corresponding semi-final today – in the 2012 Olympic 60kg final.
Today’s victory, the 132nd of Taylor’s career, was delivered exactly 20-years to the day since Michael Carruth, the only Irish boxer to win Olympic gold, finished on top of the welterweight podium at the Barcelona Olympics on August 8th, 1992.
Taylor, the number 1 seed, will be taking home at least silver from London 2012. However, the Bray BC orthodox will be aiming for the biggest price of them all on Thursday afternoon.
“It’s a dream come true for me, said the four-time AIBA World champion after her win.
“Today was such a tricky fight. She’s a very good counter-puncher so I knew it was going to be close and now I’m boxing for a gold medal tomorrow.It’s an absolute dream for me.
“Tomorrow is going to be another big day and please God I can bring home gold. It’s going to be a different fight tomorrow.”
“It’s all about the pace. One, two, three and get out.” Those were the instructions from Taylor’s dad and coach, Pete Taylor, and Zuar Antia, who were working her corner today, after she claimed the first round 3-1 versus Chorieva.
The two-time AIBA World female boxer of the year, who rarely moved out of third gear in this contest, took the second 4-2 to extend her advantage to 7-3 at mid-way.
Taylor whipped home some flashing three-punch combinations in this stanza, while Chorieva’s best shot was a left-hook.
The Tajik started showboating in the third, but a clip across the bows from Taylor short circuited that behaviour in what was her best round of the contest
Amazingly, the 2012 Asian Championships silver medalist, who was now seven points in arrears, was back showboating – a luxury which is usually only indulged in by those that are actually in the lead – again in the fourth.
But Taylor, except for a cheeky Ali shuffle, refused to take the bait and closed out a comfortable win.
Thursday’s decider with Ochigava will be a rematch of the 2012 World and 2011 European finals which Taylor won 11-7 in China and 10-5 in Holland.
Thursday’s women’s finals begin at 4.30pm at the ExCel.
“Katie boxed very well and it was a fine performance. The support she got was phenomenal and the Irish fans were absolutely fantastic, said Irish team manager Des Donnelly.
“Paddy Barnes will be back here tonight. He’s in high spirits and he’s really looking forward to this one.”
Belfast light-flyweight Barnes will be in the ring versus India’s Singh Laishram at approximately 8.45pm.
If he wins Ireland will be guaranteed a fourth medal from these Games, and Barnes, a bronze medal winner at the 2008 Olympics, will become the first Irish boxer to win two Olympics medals.
2012 Olympic Games
July 28th – Last 32
56kg – Bantamweight – John Joe Nevin (Ireland) beat Dennis Villy Ceylan (Denmark) 21-6
75kg – Middleweight – Darren O’Neill (Ireland) beat Muideen Olalekan Akanji (Nigeria) 15-6
July 29th – Last 32
69kg – Welterweight – Adam Nolan (Ireland) beat Carlos Sanchez Estacio (Ecuador) 14-8
August 1st – Last 16
56kg – Bantamweight – John Joe Nevin (Ireland) beat Kanat Abutalipov (Kazakhstan) 15-10
August 2nd – Last 16
75kg – Middleweight – Darren O’Neill (Ireland) lost to Stefan Hartel (Germany) 12-19
August 3rd – Last 16
52kg – Flyweight – Michael Conlan (Ireland) beat Duke Akeuth Micah (Ghana) 19-8
69kg – Welterweight – Adam Nolan (Ireland) lost to Andrey Zamkovoy (Russia) 9-18
August 4th – Last 16
49kg – Light-flyweight – Paddy Barnes (Ireland) beat Thomas Essomba (Cameroon) 15-10
August 5th – Quarter- final
56kg – Bantamweight – John Joe Nevin (Ireland) beat Oscar Valdez-Fierro (Mexico) 19-13
August 6th – Quarter-final
60kg – Lightweight – Katie Taylor (Ireland) beat Natasha Jonas (Great Britain) 26-15
August 7th – Quarter-final
52kg – Flyweight – Michael Conlan (Ireland) beat Nordine Ouballi (France) 22-18
August 8th – Semi-final
60kg – Lightweight – Katie Taylor (Ireland) beat Mavzuna Chorieva (Tajikistan) 17-9
August 8th – Quarter-final (8.30pm session)
49kg – Light-flyweight – Paddy Barnes (Ireland) v Singh Laishram (India)
August 9th – Final (4.30pm session)
60kg – Lightweight- Katie Taylor (Ireland) v Sofya Ochigava (Russia)
August 10th- Semi-Finals (1.30pm session)
56kg – Bantamweight – John Joe Nevin (Ireland) v Lazaro Estrada-Alvarez (Cuba)
August 10th – Semi-Finals (8.30pm session)
52kg – Flyweight – Michael Conlan (Ireland) v Robeisy Carrazana-Ramirez (Cuba)
Irish 2012 Olympic squad
49Kg (Light-flyweight) Paddy Barnes (Holy Family BC, Belfast)
52kg (Flyweight) Michael Conlan (St John Bosco BC, Belfast)
56kg (Bantamweight) John Joe Nevin (Cavan BC)
60kg (Lghtweight) Katie Taylor (Bray BC, Wicklow)
69kg (Welterweight) Adam Nolan (Bray BC, Wicklow)
75kg (Middleweight) Darren O’Neill (Paulstown BC, Kilkenny)
Team Manager: Des Donnelly
Coaches: Billy Walsh, Zuar Antia, Pete Taylor
Physio: Conor McCarthy
Strength & Conditioning: John Cleary
Performance Psychologist: Gerry Hussey