herald

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Taylor vows to book Rio place

Katie aims to make the most of second chance after defeat

(l-r) Ireland’s Katie Taylor is dejected after her Women’s Lightweight 57-60kg semi-final defeat to Yana Alexseevna of Azerbaijan in the AIBA 2016 European Olympic qualification event in Samsun, Turkey Photo: Sportsfile
(l-r) Ireland’s Katie Taylor is dejected after her Women’s Lightweight 57-60kg semi-final defeat to Yana Alexseevna of Azerbaijan in the AIBA 2016 European Olympic qualification event in Samsun, Turkey Photo: Sportsfile

Yana Alexseevna of Azerbaijan dealt Katie Taylor a shock defeat at the European Olympic qualifying event in Turkey yesterday, delaying the Olympic champion's qualification for this summer's games in Rio de Janeiro.

A win would have seen Bray boxer Taylor book her place in the upcoming Olympiad but the defeat now means that she must make the semi-finals of next month's world championship in Astana to book her ticket on the plane to Brazil.

In her statement, Taylor thanked all those who continue to support her and vowed to make the best of these unexpected circumstances.

Opportunity

"I'm obviously very disappointed. I always go to these competitions with the aim of bringing back a gold medal," she said.

"The loss came at the wrong time for me but she's a fantastic boxer and you can't take it away from her. She deserved it but I'll come again. Thank God I have another chance to go and qualify and I'm going to do everything I can do to book my place in Rio."

It was Taylor's first loss since a controversial defeat at a multi-nation tournament in Bulgaria in 2011.

Taylor was uncharacteristically on the back foot throughout the bout as Alexseevna took the opening round and didn't let up much thereafter, eventually winning a unanimous decision.

Taylor lost 39-37 on all three of the judges cards, and by the time the fourth and final round arrived, she needed a stoppage or a knockdown to win the fight.

A miserable day for Ireland ended on another downer as light weight David Oliver Joyce failed to qualify for Rio after dropping a unanimous 3-0 decision.

Newport native Joseph Cordina - who had lost to Joyce on two occasions four years ago - secured his Rio spot, though he was decidedly fortunate to get the verdict on a unanimous decision.

Joyce will have another chance to secure his spot in Rio but he will have to beat a Turkish light weight in the box off. Unless Joyce and Brendan Irvine can win their box-offs it will have been a disastrous tournament for Ireland.

Not since before the Athens Olympics in 2004 has Irish boxers failed to secure an Olympic spot at these pre- qualifying tournaments.

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