Katie Taylor: The Irish fighting phenomenon

Katie Taylor shot to fame in the boxing world as she took home a gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. She hasn’t looked back from that triumph and has gone on to become one of the most celebrated boxers of her generation. Taylor is helping to raise the profile of women’s boxing, and this is her story.

Winning gold

The first real taste of international success Katie Taylor enjoyed was her run through the competition at the 2012 Olympics. She was competing at lightweight and breezed her way to the final, but she faced a stern test in the Russian fighter Sofya Ochigava. Taylor won all of her previous bouts clearly, but in the final, she didn’t have things go all her own way.

The Irish boxer was pushed to the limit by her Russian counterpart, and they were only separated by two points in the end. Taylor had won gold and put herself on the boxing map. She had done something amazing for herself, but boxing is one of the key sports Ireland can actually hope to win gold in, and the country had a new star. Now she was the Olympic champion there was only one goal in her mind, to turn pro and become the undisputed champion.

Going for gold

After winning her Olympic gold, Taylor got used to picking up gold medals in amateur events. She continued fighting in the amateur ranks for another four years before finally turning pro in 2016, declining the opportunity to compete for another Olympic gold in Rio. Her first professional fight was in London, and she finished the bout in just three rounds thanks to a TKO victory.

The world was impressed, and just five fights into her professional career Taylor was fighting for a championship. There were just as many fireworks in her first title fight as there were in her first pro fight, and Taylor took another TKO victory to claim her first belt.

She went on a tear through the lightweight division, retaining her belt on every defense and adding more when she fought against other champions. Taylor had taken every belt but one, so now it was time for her to fight for the right to be named the undisputed champion of the world.

Madison Square Garden

Taylor knew she’d made it when she got to fight on the undercard of the Anthony Joshua fight in Madison Square Garden in June 2019. She was fighting for her fourth world title and winning this bout would make her the undisputed lightweight champion of the world. Taylor’s fight against the Belgian world champion Delfine Persoon stole the show and was arguably the most exciting fight of the night.

The eyes of the boxing world were on that event as it was the first time Joshua came to America, and while he ended up losing his bout, Taylor won. It wasn’t a straightforward victory for Taylor though, and she had to dig deep to get over the line in a wafer-thin contest.

Some boxing experts even thought she had lost the fight, but the judges gave Taylor the decision at one of the spiritual homes of boxing. Her exciting fight and victory had done even more to help grow the popularity of women’s boxing. Taylor did admit that her fight “could have gone either way.”

Fighting as a boy

Taylor admitted in an interview with Good Morning Britain that when she was younger, she used to fight as a boy. Growing up in Ireland, women’s boxing wasn’t a thing, but that wasn’t going to stop Taylor from getting in the ring. She registered as K. Taylor and was allowed to go into the ring to fight against the boys.

Taylor said she was oblivious to the fact that she might have been beating up boys in the ring, and she was just there for the same reason as everyone else. Taylor just wanted to fight, so it didn’t matter to her that she had to register as a boy to do that. Talyor spent several years fighting as a boy, and she jokingly confirmed that she won every bout that she competed in.

A born sportswoman

Before Taylor became known for her skill in the boxing ring, she was actually excelling at another sport. Taylor was on her way to becoming an international soccer star, and she represented the Republic of Ireland at senior level. She had begun playing soccer from a young age and feels as though her boxing training helped her to move through the age groups quicker.

Taylor played for the Republic of Ireland for three years between 2006 and 2009 before turning to boxing full time. During her soccer career, Taylor even got to play against the United States, but only in an exhibition game as she never played in the Women’s World Cup.

The satisfying part of her journey

Taylor said the most satisfying thing for her in her journey is seeing just how popular women’s boxing has become. She says in pretty much every boxing clubs around the world women are training to fight, and that was something she didn’t see growing up. There were many obstacles and struggles for Taylor to get through to become the success story she is today, but it was worth it for the gold.

Taylor admits the media side of boxing doesn’t come naturally to her, and in interviews she can seem quite shy. She prefers to do her talking in the ring, and few can argue with the results she has been getting ever since lacing up her gloves for the first time.