herald

Thursday 22 August 2019

Champ Katie to be given official hero's welcome

Katie Taylor with her five belts in New York. Photo: Sportsfile
Katie Taylor with her five belts in New York. Photo: Sportsfile

Ireland's undisputed boxing champion of the world will touch down to a hero's welcome this morning with an official Government reception.

Katie Taylor beat Belgium's Delfine Persoon on Saturday night in Madison Square Garden, New York, to become just the seventh ever undisputed champ.

Taylor was due to arrive home yesterday before a technical difficulty meant her flight was cancelled.

There will, however, be huge crowds in Dublin Airport this morning to welcome the 32-year-old Bray native home after her momentous victory.

Statue

There was also some concern that Sports Minister Shane Ross would not honour her after he failed to attend the homecoming reception for boxing World Champion Kellie Harrington last year.

However, a spokesperson for the Department of Sport confirmed that Mr Ross will be at Dublin Airport this morning for a reception in honour of Taylor.

A motion will also be tabled at the first new meeting of Wicklow County Council on Friday to have a statue erected in Taylor's honour, as well as a proposal to have Bray post boxes painted gold to celebrate her achievement.

Councillor Joe Behan, who topped the polls in the recent local elections and was a teacher in Taylor's school, St Fergal's, said: "A reception-style celebration would be great, but the new council doesn't meet for the first time until Friday and that makes things difficult.

"I know that there is a great desire to have a statue erected in Katie's honour to celebrate what she has done, both as an amateur and a professional, as an ambassador for Bray."

Newly elected councillor Rory O'Connor will make his own proposal to the council.

"Like what was done after the London Olympics in the home towns of gold medal winners, I will be proposing that post boxes in Bray are painted gold to celebrate Katie's triumphs," he said.

"It wouldn't be a big undertaking but would be a constant reminder of what she has achieved."

Amid fears that Mr Ross would not attend the reception, Lord Mayor of Dublin Nial Ring said he was ready to step in if the minister didn't follow through.

"I'm ready to open up the doors of the Mansion House any day this week to welcome Katie home, just like I did with Kellie Harrington," he told the Herald.

undisputed

"These two women are pioneers, trailblazers, and should be lauded.

"Shane Ross didn't show up to Kellie's reception, but I will step into the breach to host Katie and celebrate becoming undisputed champion."

Meanwhile, Persoon has confirmed she will lodge an official complaint with boxing authorities following her controversial defeat to Taylor.

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