Striking A Blow For All Women | London 2012

Few people have had such a seismic effect on Olympic history than Katie Taylor who turned the 10,000 capacity ExCel Stadium in London into an ear-splitting ‘little Ireland’ over the course of her historic run to gold at the 2012 Games.The first time women’s boxing was included on the Olympic programme there were only three weights and Taylor, already a four-time world amateur champion, was hot favourite for the lightweight title.But her10-8 victory over Russia’s Sofya Ochigava hung in the balance in the final round and she admitted: “It was a huge relief. I didn’t know which way the decision had gone. I thought it might go to countback because there was a big delay.”Yet even if she won no medal in 2012 Taylor had already done her sport immeasurable service as she was one of the female boxers whose impressive skills, in previous showcase bouts in Moscow and Chicago, had directly persuaded the International Olympic Committee members to make women’s boxing an Olympic sport.There was also a telling Irish link with each of the sport’s first three Olympic champions in 2012.Eleven years earlier, in October 2001, Britain’s flyweight champion Nicola Adams, had come to Dublin to fight on the very same card as Taylor in what were the first ever sanctioned female boxing matches at Ireland’s National Stadium.And America’s Claressa Shields, who won the first Olympic middleweight title, was coached in London by Wexford man Billy Walsh, underlining the seminal role that Irish boxing, boxers and coaches made on that fateful day in Olympic female boxing history.

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