Boxing: Katie Taylor in threat to walk away

Katie Taylor: Wanted progress. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Katie Taylor: Wanted progress. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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LEADING women’s boxer Katie Taylor may abandon a planned defence of her Olympic title in 2016 to turn professional after enduring a “terrible year” which she said saw women’s boxing take a step backwards.

Taylor, a sporting icon in her native Ireland who won four world and five European titles before claiming gold in London, became one of the faces of the 2012 Games by playing the lead role in a successful Olympic debut for women’s boxing.

Taylor had pledged to remain an amateur in order to box in Rio in three years’ time but said yesterday that she was now “flirting” with the pro ranks, laying the blame on boxing’s governing body and the sport’s Irish authorities.

“This year has been a terrible year for me,” Taylor, who last year turned down a number of professional contracts, was quoted as saying in the Irish press. “With the EU Championships [in July], it was just a fight in a little tent in front of 100 people; it was really badly organised. For an Olympic medallist to be fighting in front of that kind of crowd, it was just disappointing. It looked like women’s boxing was taking a step backwards.”

The one-time Republic of Ireland football player, 27, bemoaned the lack of progress made by world governing body AIBA in opening its new professional league to women. The ruling body has established AIBA Professional Boxing (APB) and the World Series of Boxing (WSB) to stop losing boxers to the traditional professional ranks by offering male fighters a living while still allowing them a shot at Olympic gold.

Taylor’s coach, her father Peter, has been trying to get information regarding any plans to extend WSB to female boxers but has not received answers, the lightweight champion said.

“This should have been the year when the WSB was set up and we capitalised on what happened last year,” Taylor said.

“It will be hard to get the motivation if this WSB doesn’t go ahead. I feel a bit frustrated stepping backwards, instead of pushing on from last year.”

AIBA president Wu Ching-Kuo said last year he would examine the possibility of extending the new professional leagues to include women. However the body said on Friday that while it was would consider a women’s WSB in the future, it is not foreseen for the time being for a range of technical and organisational reasons.