Boxing champ Taylor may forgo Rio after 'terrible year'

Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:12am EDT
 
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By Padraic Halpin

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Irish Olympic boxing champion Katie Taylor may abandon a planned defense of her title in 2016 to turn professional after enduring a "terrible year" which she said saw women's boxing take a step backwards.

Taylor, a sporting icon in her country, became one of the faces of the London Games last year by playing the lead role in a stunningly successful Olympic debut for women's boxing, one that firmly left the men in the shade.

Taylor had pledged to remain an amateur in order to box in the Rio de Janeiro Games in three years' time but said on Friday that she was now "flirting" with the pro ranks, laying the blame on boxing's governing body and the sport's Irish authorities.

"This year has been a terrible year for me," Taylor, who last year turned down a number of professional contracts, was quoted as saying in the Irish Independent newspaper.

"With the European championships (in July), it was just a fight in a little tent in front of 100 people; it was really badly organized... For an Olympic medalist to be fighting in front of that kind of crowd, it was just disappointing. It looked like women's boxing was taking a step backwards."

The one-time international soccer player, 27, bemoaned the lack of progress made by AIBA (The International Boxing Association) in opening its new professional league to women.

The ruling body has established AIBA Professional Boxing (APB) and the World Series of Boxing (WSB) to stop losing boxers to the traditional professional ranks by offering male fighters a living while still allowing them a shot at Olympic gold.

Taylor's coach, her father Peter, has been trying to get information regarding any plans to extend WSB to female boxers but has not received answers, the lightweight champion said.   Continued...

 
Katie Taylor of Ireland bites her gold medal following the presentation ceremony for the Women's Light (60kg) boxing competition at the London Olympic Games August 9, 2012. REUTERS/Murad Sezer