herald

Saturday 20 September 2014

New Year resolution for Katie

"HARK! The herald angels sing, Katie Taylor's in the ring."

When the Christmas dinner is finished, Katie Taylor will be preparing to clinch even more international honours.

Shortly after winning her Olympic gold medal, she endeavoured to remain true to her boxer's instinct and the years of strict discipline and rigorous training that made her the formidable warrior that has won four World Championship golds and five European Championship golds.

Sitting in the ExCeL Arena, with her newly acquired gold medal around her neck, she tried hard to imagine what she was going to do next. Although she could have had no idea what lay in store or how her future might unfold, when asked, she replied as someone with a one-track mind.

"I'll take a few weeks off and when I get back training I'll do what I've always done, stay focused and meet each competition and fight as it comes," she said. "There'll always be pressure but it's from what I put on myself rather than other people's expectations. It's been like that since I started boxing and it won't change."

As the whole country knows, when Katie left the ExCeL she walked into a whirlwind of celebration. Street parties, civic receptions, and book signings became part of her new routine.

Yesterday at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre you could sense a hint of relief in her voice as she explained: "We have a date to focus on now. It's been so long since I've been in the ring, a few months, I'm just looking forward to starting my preparations fort the European Championships next year."

The boxing gym and ring is where Katie feels most at home. As promoter Brian Peters announced Sunday, February 24 as the date for her first bout in Ireland since she won Olympic gold, Katie looked happy to be getting back to the business she knows best.

"We took four weeks off after the Olympics," she said. "We've trained hard over the last few months but it's been hard to get a few weeks consistently because of the business. But after Christmas we're going to get stuck in."

Year after year, boxers preparing for the Men's Senior finals have a rotten time over the festive holiday season. It's all about self-sacrifice, work and attention to detail ahead of the major national tournament. Katie operates to a slightly different clock.

Everyone who watched her on television during the Olympics will hope to see her in action in February. Up close and personal. The timing of Peters' announcement makes this ticket the perfect Christmas gift for many. Even if, at this stage, they don't know who Katie is likely to be fighting.

Her father Peter says: "I know a lot of her European rivals won't want to box her until the European Championships so to prepare for those I want Katie to box world class opposition and that will mean bringing over some of the best girls in the world to box her. We're looking at a number of possibilities."

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