London 2012 Olympics: Josh Taylor distraught but vows to fight on
JOSH Taylor was inconsolable after losing his last-16 fight to Domenico Valentino of Italy last night, but insisted he would carry on in amateur boxing in pursuit of a major title.
The Edinburgh lightweight lost 15-10 to the Italian, the No 3 seed and a former world champion. The second round was drawn 4-4, but the other two went to Valentino, the last by a score of 7-3 as Taylor threw everything he had into chasing a result.
It was a fair result, even if the margin of defeat might easily have been a little less. Fast, technically accomplished and athletic, Valentino was simply too good on the night for the Scot.
“I’m obviously incredibly disappointed, after all the hard work and support I’ve received, that I couldn’t deliver a win today to build on the silver that I got at Delhi,” Taylor said, referring to his medal in the 2010 Commonwealth Games. “I’ve really enjoyed the preparation, the training camp, for London 2012. I was incredibly grateful for the support I received tonight.
“But Valentino deserved his win. I’ve got to reassess and reflect on what’s happened tonight – but I aim to Glasgow in 2014 and go one better than I did in Delhi.”
Valentino was taking part in the boxing competition for the first time, having been given a bye in the opening round. Perhaps tempted to try to catch the Italian cold, Taylor started out more assertively than he had done in his opening bout against Robson Conceicao of Brazil.
It was soon apparent, however, that the Italian was a more demanding opponent than the South American had been. His agility and swiftness got the better of Taylor on a couple of occasions in that first round, which he ended with a 4-3 advantage.
A flurry of right jabs had been Taylor’s best action of those first three minutes, but there was nothing so adventurous from either boxer in the opening stages of the second. A slower and cagier three minutes of action, it was one in which Valentino’s ability to vary the tempo stopped Taylor from settling into a rhythm and launching an attack. Nonetheless, the Scot did enough to draw the round, which meant he was only a point behind going into the last round. He needed to take risks and that meant leaving gaps in his defence, which Valentino had the expertise to exploit. The more Taylor pushed forward, the more the Italian had the opportunity to inch further ahead on the scoreboard.
After his defeat in the final in Delhi, the Lochend fighter was in tears because of his failure to win gold, saying he felt he had let everyone down. Since then he has matured significantly as a character, and has shown himself to be an articulate and respected spokesman for his sport.
The fact that he was too upset last night to offer a detailed assessment of his fight is a measure of the depth of his disappointment, and perhaps an indication of the distress he felt at again being unable to give a fervent audience the victory they craved. But the reality is that he has nothing to apologise for. He did everything in his power, and was defeated by a more experienced and wilier opponent.
Earlier Britain’s Anthony Ogogo pulled off the most dramatic victory of his career against Ukrainian world champion Ievgen Khytrov.
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