Katie Taylor Remains an Amateur

By Matt McGrain on February 1, 2013
Katie Taylor Remains an Amateur
As Maike Kluners said about Katie, “she is only human...anything can happen in boxing.”


Olympic gold medalist Katie Taylor has elected to remain an amateur with a view to defending her lightweight title in 2016 in Rio. The draw of the professional ranks, such as it is for the female of the species, was perhaps the greatest obstacle to her achieving what is seen as one of the most gargantuan tasks in all of sport, but Taylor is perhaps the closest thing this side of Usain Bolt to a lock for back-to-back Olympic gold medals. The outstanding Irish athlete of her generation proved herself yet again to be the best of women’s boxing—arguably of either code—yet again in London, only spirited Scouser Natasha Jonas providing even passing competition at last year’s Olympics.

So the chasing pack is closing the gap but they still have an Irish country mile of rocky and inhospitable terrain to cover.

Whether or not this news is to be welcomed by Taylor’s counterparts in the professional ranks is open to debate. On the one hand, the chances of even experienced professionals like Chevelle Hallback and Emiko Raika beating her even straight out of the gate is slim, on the other, Taylor represents one of the biggest draws in women’s boxing. She is a legitimate star in her native Ireland and can be seen lining up alongside the likes of Bono at film premiers and charity events. Her next contest at the Citywest Hotel, Dublin on February 22nd against Karolina Graczyk will be a full house—a second date is already sold out.

Graczyk, a talented and storied boxer, is representative in many ways of the problem that Taylor will experience between now and the glamour of the Rio Olympics. The Polish champion is an opponent Katie has already beaten, handily, in the final of the EU Championships in 2011. Re-treading old ground even in what is the toughest division in women’s amateur boxing cannot be a particularly attractive prospect for the highly competitive Taylor and the next generation is struggling to shoulder its way past what has become something of a murderer’s row of talent. Katie’s father and trainer, Pete Taylor, has talked recently of the difficulty of getting fighters from a thoroughly tamed European scene to step up and take her on, whilst conflicting schedules and difficulties with distance make matching North Americans equally troubling.

But it would be degrading to Taylor and her astonishing fourteen title haul to suggest that defending her European and World championships on the road to Rio will be routine. As German champion Maike Kluners, who is set to be matched against Taylor just 48 hours after the Graczyk contest put it recently, “she is only human…anything can happen in boxing.”

Whilst the first part of this statement seems at times debatable, the second is a truism. The standard of her competition cannot be faulted; Taylor is utterly dominating a tough, tough division. A slip could certainly cost her.

But don’t bet on it.

Taylor will turn thirty whilst at the 2016 games, so a sojourn into the pro ranks is far from impossible but for the moment at least it is the unpaid lightweight ranks who will continue to quake at her passing.

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MUEK: 60 kg: Katie Taylor vs Karolina Graczyk



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