May 18, 2013
Ireland's Taylor captures dream gold
Ireland's Katie Taylor won the lightweight gold at the London Games, capping a scintillating career that delivered four world titles and saw her lead the charge for the inclusion of women's boxing at the Olympics.
Women's boxing has been a big success in its Olympic debut, overshadowing the men in the process, and in Taylor, they have not only the face of the sports but potentially one of the stories of the Games.
Taylor, 26, had to watch previous Olympic Games from home knowing that the sport she excelled so greatly at was the only one missing from the women's programme at the Summer Games.
The overwhelming favourite, she beat Russia's Sofya Ochigava 10-8 in front of an arena packed again with raucous Irish fans, desperate for a first untainted Irish Olympic gold in 20 years.
In a rematch of this year's world championship final, Taylor started cagier than in previous fights, catching Ochigava with two big right hooks but taking a left square on to leave the scores tied after one round.
The caution continued in the second as Taylor fell a point behind, the Russian catching her with another couple of smart lefts but Taylor owned the third round, catching the Russian enough times to open up a two-point lead.
The one-time international soccer player hung on in a last round that was tied and looked visibly nervous as she awaited the decision before going to her corner to hug her coach and father Peter and running around the ring with an Irish flag.
Exiting the arena close to tears, she hugged former world professional Irish champion Barry McGuigan who told a ringside reporter that it was 20 years to the day since Ireland won its last boxing gold, Michael Carruth's in Barcelona.