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Boxing: Taylor's gain is hero Barnes' pain

By Thomas Myler

Thursday August 20 2009

THE decision to introduce women's boxing into the London Olympics of 2012 is a landmark one, a knockout victory for the ladies.

For Ireland's Golden Girl Katie Taylor, the reigning world and European champion, it has to be all her Christmas presents rolled into one.

If she maintains her brilliant form, stays free from injury, and gets through the qualifiers, she will surely enter the ring as favourite to strike gold after three bouts. If qualified, she would be straight into the quarter-finals.

But has the International Olympic Committee (IOC) made a huge blunder in deciding to drop one of the men's divisions, almost certainly lightflyweight, to get inside the overall quota of 286, men and women?

Would it not have been fairer and more sensible to pare down the entries in the 11 weights and leave the lightest weight alone? As it stands, and as far as Ireland is concerned, the decision leaves Beijing Olympics hero Paddy Barnes with a serious problem.

The Belfast lightflyweight brought home a bronze medal, but if the division is scrapped, he will have to put on the extra weight and move up to flyweight, a class he is not happy in.

"Let me say I'm delighted for Katie and delighted for all women boxers," he said. "But what annoys me is the cost that us lightflys are having to pay for their acceptance. It's terrible the way we have to be penalised for this to happen. Maybe they are just picking on the little guys."

High Performance chief coach Billy Walsh said: "If lightflyweight is the one to miss out, it would be a tragedy for us because we have a high-class performer in Paddy Barnes. But we have to recognise that women's boxing is part of our sport now."

It's not the first time the IOC have interfered with the weights. They dropped the lightmiddleweight division after the 2000 Melbourne Olympics, amid protests worldwide. Their reason? To allow in women wrestlers!

It is to be hoped too that by the time 2012 comes around that the world controlling body AIBA will come to grips with the old problems of refereeing and judging. Even under new Olympic president Ching-kuo Wu of Taiwan, bad decisions are still part and parcel of Olympic boxing.

"It's still a major problem," said Daniel Herbert, one of Britain's leading boxing writers. "Selecting referees and judges according to which part of the world they are from, rather than their competence, means standards of refereeing and scoring are way short of what they should be."

"Many nations left China feeling very much shortchanged, Ireland among them. Kenneth Egan's greatest misfortune was to box a Chinese, Zhang Xiaoping, in the lightheavyweight final. You can't say it was robbery, but the 11-7 verdict to Zhang could well have been reversed in any other country.


IT'S showdown time for Andy Lee tomorrow when he ducks between the ropes to meet Anthony Schuler, a 32-year-old southpaw from Indianapolis, in Hammond, Indiana.

Schuler comes in as a late sub for Mexico's Jose Humberto Corral who sustained an injury in training. The Limerick middleweight (25) must win this scheduled 10-rounder in impressive fashion if he is to be taken seriously as a potential world-title contender.

"Andy has been working hard in the gym over the last few weeks and he's looking good," said his manager and coach Emanuel Steward. "We don't know an awful lot about Schuler but that's no problem. Andy has the skill and the accurate punching to do the job."

Southpaw Lee, who is based in Detroit, has won 18 of his 19 fights, 13 either by count-outs or stoppages.

- Thomas Myler



Taylor’s made for Olympics

By Daragh Ó Conchúir

THE campaign to have women’s boxing introduced to the Olympics has sometimes seemed like a crusade to ensure Ireland wins a gold medal in London.
So it was no surprise that the IOC’s decision on Thursday to give female pugilists a shot at the ultimate dream was greeted with near delirium on these shores, making front pages as well as the back.
This is the type of pressure young Katie Taylor has to contend with, and the intensity of it is certain to increase between now and 2012 as the countdown begins for the gifted Bray woman.
Irish Sports Council chief executive John Treacy pleaded that Taylor not be “overburdened with expectation”, while High Performance Head Coach Billy Walsh cautioned that “a lot can happen in three years”.
But as a two-time world lightweight champion, who will be chasing her fourth successive European crown next month, the 22-year-old is one of Ireland’s most successful athletes ever.
“I’ve stated on a few occasions that she is the best athlete we have in this gym, not only in sporting terms but also in terms of lifestyle and as a role model,” said Walsh at the National Stadium yesterday.
“There are very, very few in this gym who are technically better. (But) when you talk about a boxer you talk about the full package, and there’s one that has the full package. And it’s Katie.”
So much for deflecting the pressure, as her father and coach Peter insists will be done. It’s difficult when you’re dealing with such a prodigious talent as Taylor’s though.
The 2008 AIBA Women’s Boxer of the Year added to her growing legend in April when she was named Boxer of the Tournament – male and female – at the prestigious Ahmet Cup in Turkey.
“It’s going to be hard the next three years,” the remarkably grounded fighter concedes.
“A lot of people seem to assume that I’m just going to turn up and come away with a gold medal.
“All I can do is try my best, keep going as I am doing, hopefully keep improving as a boxer with my Da and the High Performance (team).
“I’m just going to try my best and keep enjoying my boxing for the next three years. Hopefully that will lead on to qualification and then the Olympic gold. But at the moment I’m just concentrating on the Europeans and each tournament as they come along.”
Unfortunately, Taylor’s good luck could spell bad news for other potential medal hopes, with Paddy Barnes’ 48kg division favourite for the chop.
The Holy Trinity fighter now faces the prospect of having to move up a division but according to Walsh, his medal chances will not diminish if that happens.
“It won’t be nice for Paddy but we’ve lost a weight division in 2000, we lost light-middleweight, and we had to adapt to that.
“I’m sure he will have to adapt. At the moment he can perform at that weight but it will be an easy transition for him to move up.
“He’s a world class performer. He has a never-say-die attitude as you saw at the Olympics. He will be one of the men to beat in the world championships, he’s in great form.”


Now Katie can box at Olympics

Friday, 14 August 2009


The introduction of women's boxing at the 2012 London Olympics is a dream come true for Katie Taylor.


The 22-year-old's dominance has been such that she has continually topped the world ratings, not just at lightweight but in the pound-for-pound category, making her officially the best female boxer in the world.

She has even scared off a number of rivals who preferred to withdraw from major tournaments around Europe and Asia rather than face her.

Katie started her amateur career at the National Stadium in Dublin as a 15-year-old, coached by her father Peter, a former Irish champion.

In her first bout at the stadium on October 31, 2001 she beat Alanna Murphy of Belfast 23-12 and received high praise for the manner of her performance.

She left the ring to resounding applause and even though future Olympian Andy Lee was on the card, it was Katie who won the ultimate accolade, the ‘Best Boxer of the Night' award.

She made fast progress and was an outstanding amateur with fast hands, sharp reflexes, good footwork and the ability to think fast once the bell rang.

Katie had limited training facilities in those early days before the introduction of the High Performance Unit, then under Gary Keegan.

She had to divide her time training between Bray Boxing Club and her home.

But she stuck it out and her determination has paid off.


Taylor’s focus won’t be affected by Olympics

By Brendan Crossan
Two-time world boxing champion Katie Taylor poses for the cameras
Taylor-made for London: Two-time world boxing champion Katie Taylor poses for the cameras during a visit to Ligoniel Boxing Club earlier this year. Taylor, who was a big hit on the visit, received good news yesterday with the confirmation that women’s boxing will be part of the Olympcs in London in 2012

IRELAND’S female boxing sensation Katie Taylor will have to “stay focussed and remain number one” if she hopes to reach the 2012 London Olympics, according to her father and coach Peter Taylor.
While Taylor was “absolutely delighted” with yesterday’s International Olympic Committee’s [IOC] decision to allow women boxers to compete in the Games for the first time since 1904, he was already quelling the ‘gold medal hype’ surrounding his gifted 23-year-old daughter.
Yesterday, bookmakers were already quoting Taylor’s gold medal prospects in London at 1/2.
“We’re absolutely delighted because we’ve been waiting a long time for this,” said Peter.
“Now we just have to stay focussed and stay number one. London is a long way away and I just hope everybody stops talking about Katie being guaranteed a gold medal because there is no such thing.
“All we’re concentrating on is the next competition, which is the European Championships in five weeks’ time (in Ukraine). We can’t think about the Olympics now. We have to concentrate on what we’re doing, but obviously we’re delighted.”
Father and daughter expect a “mad few days” ahead of them – while Peter also answered some of the concerns expressed by the health professionals. The highly influential British Medical Association said the sport should “play no part in a modern Olympic games” and that the IOC’s decision would “encourage more people to take up this dangerous sport”.
Taylor countered: “It’s a matter of opinion and everybody is entitled to theirs. Those people who are against women boxing probably never sat down and watched any tournaments. Those people would be uneducated in women’s boxing.”

The IOC has announced three weight classes for women in the London Games: flyweight (48- 51kg), lightweight (56-60kg) and middleweight (69-75kg) – with 12 boxers taking part at each weight. Bray’s Katie Taylor currently fights at 60 kilos.
In order for the total number of boxers to remain at 286 there will be one less weight category in the men’s competition, meaning that there will be 10 weights for men.
Also at yesterday’s high-powered Berlin meeting, the IOC agreed to include golf and rugby sevens at the 2016 games.
Irish boxing president Dominic O’Rourke said: “Over the last number of years Katie has performed with a level of consistency rarely seen in international sport.
“Katie and her father and coach Peter have worked tremendously hard to help promote women’s amateur boxing internationally and they deserve this opportunity.”
Sarah Close, daughter of former professional boxer Ray Close, Holy Family’s Michaela Walsh, Ligoniel’s Sarah-Jane McLaughlin and Dublin’s Kelly Harrington are just some of the names that will be aiming for the bright lights of London in three years’ time.
Ligoniel’s female boxing coach Carla McAuley was delighted with the IOC’s decision yesterday.
She said: “Katie Taylor is an inspirational person. She visited our club in January and so many girls wanted to take up boxing after her visit. She made a major impact at our club.”
Asked whether women’s boxing would be up to Olympic standard, Carla added: “People just need to watch Katie Taylor and the hard work she puts in. She has proven that with the right dedication and commitment you can succeed. She’s a great example to every female boxer.”

Women’s boxing is widely practised in more than 120 countries and on five continents, with an estimated 500,000 participants worldwide
- Women’s World Championships in boxing have been organised five times and the number of countries and participants has grown steadily to 218 boxers from 39 countries at the AIBA Women’s World Championships in Ningbo City, China in 2008.
2001 Scranton, USA: 124 boxers/31 countries
2002 Antalya, Turkey: 185 boxers/31 countries
2005 Podolsk, Russia: 139 boxers/30 countries
2006 New Delhi, India: 174 boxers/33 countries
2008 Ningbo City, China: 218 boxers/39 countries
2010 Bridgetown, Barbados: Next championships

- Boxing was the only sport in the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games which did not include female competitors
- Continental Women’s Boxing Championships have been held 18 times as follows:
Africa – 1; Americas – 4; Asia – 4; Oceania – 3 (together with men’s event); Europe – 6
European Women’s Boxing Championships as follows:
2001 France: 78 boxers/14 countries
2003 Hungary: 117 boxers/21 countries
2004 Italy: 116 boxers/16 countries
2005 Norway: 100 boxers/18 countries
2006 Poland: 126 boxers/22 countries
2007 Denmark: 137 boxers/26 countries

Women get Olympic opportunity

By Brendan Crossan

TWO of Ulster boxing’s leading figures have welcomed yesterday’s announcement that women will compete at the 2012 London Olympics – but expressed concern over the possibility of a male weight class being cut from the Games.
Ulster Council President Pat McCrory and international coach Gerry Storey backed the International Olympic Committee’s [IOC] decision, taken in Berlin, to include females for the first time since 1904.
However, there is growing speculation the light flyweight [48 kilos] and possibly the super heavyweight divisions may be squeezed off the Olympic roster to make room for the three additional weight classes for women [48-51 kilos; 56-60 kilos; 69-75 kilos].
‘‘It’s great to see the women competing at the next Olympics, but what we don’t want to see happen is for the Games to do away with some of the male boxing categories to make space for the women. That would be absolutely wrong,’’ said Storey.
The Holy Family trainer speculated that rigid television schedules could pressurise the IOC into ‘‘handicapping’’ some lighter and heavier competitors.
‘‘Maybe television has a big say in this. You only have so many days for competition. Potentially, it’s opening the door for women and closing the door on men. It would be an insult to a man at 48 kilos who can’t be heavy. It’s not his fault he’s 48 kilos.
‘‘At the moment it is only speculation, but the light flyweight and the super heavyweight classes could be cut.’’
Provincial supremo Pat McCrory warmly greeted the inclusion of women and the prospect of Bray’s two-times world champion Katie Taylor winning gold in three years’ time, but added the news could have ‘‘serious implications’’ for the light flyweight division.
‘‘Paddy Barnes won a bronze medal at light flyweight at the last Olympics, so it could have serious implications for Irish boxing because we’ve performed well at the lighter weights,’’ said McCrory.
‘‘If the light flyweight category is scrapped, then that would apply to all international competitions and Paddy would have to move up to 51 kilos, which wouldn’t be ideal.’’
Some of Ireland’s great amateur boxers starred at the lighter weight categories, including Olympic medallists Wayne McCullough and Hugh Russell, while Gerry Hawkins, Damaen Kelly, Neil McLaughlin and Davy Larmour are other local fighters that excelled in the lighter weight divisions.


Olympic battle for Barnes as his weight category is dropped

By Claire Simpson

OLYMPIC bronze medallist boxer Paddy Barnes will have to battle harder for a chance of a gold medal at the 2012 games after his weight category was scrapped.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) agreed yesterday to introduce three women’s boxing categories in the games but has dropped the men’s light-flyweight division to make way for the new events.
The Belfast boxer, who won his medal at last year’s Olympic games in Beijing, decided not to turn professional to be in with a chance of competing for gold in London 2012.
Speaking from Dublin last night, he said he is still determined to try to compete.
“I’m not happy about it but I just have to go up a weight,” he said.
Barnes said the weight change means that he will be up against taller and bigger opponents who are used to fighting at the heavier weight.
“I’m just going to have to change my style,” he said.
“I’m not giving to give up.”

The introduction of women’s boxing means that Irish boxer Katie Taylor, already a double world champion, has been tipped as a likely
gold-medal winner.
Ulster boxing president Pat McCrory said it was “extremely disappointing” to see the light- flyweight division scrapped.
“It’s not good news for Paddy Barnes,” he said.
“He’s going to find it hard to go up a weight. It’s not like you just have to eat a few more Mars bars.
“If you’re fighting fit at that weight it’s very difficult to go up a weight.”
However, Mr McCrory said the announcement was good news for women’s boxing.
“Katie Taylor is already a world champion so she has a really good chance of doing very well,” he said.
Page last updated at 17:24 GMT, Thursday, 13 August 2009 18:24 UK

Women's boxing gains Olympic spot

Popularity boost predicted for women's boxing

Women boxers will have the chance to fight for gold at the 2012 Olympics.

International Olympic Committee chiefs voted on Thursday to lift the barrier to the last all-male summer sport.

Three women's weight classes will be added to the Olympic programme for 2012 Games in London, with one of the 11 men's classes dropped to make room.

"Women's boxing has come on a tremendous amount in the last five years and it was time to include them," said IOC president Jacques Rogge.

Women will fight at flyweight (48-51kg), lightweight (56-60kg) and middleweight (69-75kg).


The IOC's decision was described as "historic" by Olympics minister Tessa Jowell.

"It will be a landmark moment come London 2012 when for the first time every sport will have women participating in it," she said.

"There are still major disparities in the number of medals women can win compared to men but this is a step in the right direction.

"In this country women's boxing has come on in leaps and bounds and is growing quickly at all levels.

"London 2012 will now create the first-ever generation of boxing heroines and hopefully inspire even more women to take up the sport."

Women's boxing came close to being included at the 2008 Beijing Games but the IOC ruled it would not offer added value to the Olympic programme.


It will give female boxers the chance to showcase their talents on the biggest sporting stage



Sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe

Fears were that the sport was not competitive in enough countries, which could lead to potentially dangerous mismatches.

But participation has since boomed with 120 international federations having female boxers. There are now nearly 600 registered female boxers in England, up from 50 in 2005.

Amanda Coulson, a three-time ABA champion and long-time trail-blazer for British women's amateur boxing, expects the whole sport to benefit from the IOC's decision.

"It's fantastic news, I'm over the moon," she said. "Women's boxing can only progress from here - participation numbers will go through the roof, especially after 2012.

"The sport will keep growing but not just female boxing, the numbers overall will increase because of the added exposure."

England women's coach Mick Gannon expects the popularity of female boxing to explode following its inclusion in the Olympics.

"It's fantastic," he said. "What we'll see now is young ladies knocking down the doors at boxing gyms.

Female boxing will be London legacy - Hunt

"There is going to be a big jump from other combat sports into boxing and it is already the fastest-growing sport in England.

"Numbers-wise it has increased by about 700% in five or six years.

"Like any sport you have a drop-off but now they will have the opportunity to go on and become superstars."

British sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe added: "This move is a massive boost for women's boxing.

"It will give female boxers the chance to showcase their talents on the biggest sporting stage.

"I am sure that our British talent will relish the opportunity to compete in front of a home crowd in 2012 and will help raise the profile of women's boxing at all levels."


The move was criticised by the British Medical Association, which represents more than 140,000 doctors and medical students.

A BMA spokesman said the sport should "play no part in a modern Olympic games".

He added: "Irrespective of their gender, during the course of a fight boxers can suffer acute brain haemorrhage and serious damage to their eyes, ears and nose.

"Throughout their career, boxers will receive thousands of blows to the head. Each blow received results in the brain being shaken within the skull.

"The cumulative affect of a lifetime in the ring can be irreversible brain damage. Unlike other sports the aim of boxing is to inflict bodily harm on an opponent."

Former boxer and Labour MP Paul Flynn described the decision as "foolish" and said it was not a step forward for female equality.

The politician, who has tabled two private members' bills to get boxing banned, said: "This is a foolish act. I'm very disappointed to see it's being presented as something to do with women's rights."

He added: "If anyone still believes boxing is a healthy sport there's two words for them - Muhammad Ali."

British boxer Amir Khan, an Olympic silver medallist in 2004, said: "Deep down I think women shouldn't fight. That's my opinion.

"When you get hit it's very painful. Women can get knocked out."

However, he told BBC Radio 5 live: "I am going to be supportive. I'll be cheering on the British fighters and hoping they win the medals."

Although the head is not a target zone in amateur boxing, one organisation expressed concern at further promoting the sport of boxing as a whole.

Peter McCabe, chief executive of brain injury association Headway, said: "We believe all forms of boxing should be banned with immediate effect.


I have seen at first hand the massive improvements that have taken place in competitive women's amateur boxing over the last few years,



Richie Woodhall
Former world boxing champion

"Introducing women's boxing at the Olympics will simply serve to glamorise a dangerous and irresponsible sport to a new audience and lead to more young women putting their health at risk."

Khan admitted he had never seen a women's fight, whereas former WBC super-middleweight world champion Richie Woodhall, now a coaching consultant to the British Amateur Boxing Association, says the change is deserved.

"I have seen at first hand the massive improvements that have taken place in competitive women's amateur boxing over the last few years," he said.

Sue Tibballs, chief executive of the Women's Sport and Fitness Foundation, welcomed the shift towards equality at the Olympics.

"In Beijing, 165 medals were available to men versus 127 to women," she said. "Women were first allowed to compete in the Olympic stadium in 1922 - 90 years on, we hope London 2012 will show real progress for sportswomen."


In all, 17 sports submitted applications for changes to their programmes. Among them:

Canoe sprint - all men's 500m events will be shortened to 200m to make them "more spectacular"; men's canoe double 500m to be replaced by women's kayak single (K1) 200m.

Handball - all placement matches below the bronze-medal play-off will be removed.

Modern pentathlon - the new combined run/shoot format has been included.

Tennis - a mixed doubles event will be included, subject to confirmation from the International Tennis Federation that top singles players will take part.

Wrestling, Swimming, Cycling - all want new events, which will be allowed only if they replace current events and do not increase the number of athletes.

Sailing - Tornado Multihull event withdrawn, reducing the programme to 10 events.

Final decisions on details will be made at the IOC executive board's December meeting in Lausanne.




Women's boxing confirmed for Olympics

Women's boxing will make its first appearance on the Olympic programme at the London 2012 Games, the International Olympic Committee said on Thursday.

IOC president Jacques Rogge, a former boxing doctor, is a strong advocate of women's boxing and his desire was rubber-stamped by the IOC Executive Board at their meeting.

Ireland's Katie Taylor will instantly become a medal favourite given her dominance in the sport in recent years.


Taylor is Ireland's most successful boxer in history and has numerous European and World titles to her name.

She is one of the most consistent stars in world sport, boasting a record of 60 wins from 61 fights and 39 consecutive victories.

Taylor will be holding a press conference at the National Stadium in Dublin to give her reaction to the news.

The arrival of women's boxing at the 2012 Games will signal a reduction in the number of men's boxing categories.

Meanwhile, golf and rugby sevens have been shortlisted for inclusion at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

The two were selected from seven candidate sports by the IOC's executive board at a meeting in Berlin and a final vote on their inclusion will be held at the IOC's full session to be held in Copenhagen in October.


Taylor waits on Olympic dream

Katie Taylor will find out on Thursday if her dream of representing Ireland in the London 2012 Olympics can come true.

Currently, boxing is the only Olympic sport in which women can not compete.

Taylor is Ireland's most successful boxer in history and has numerous European and World titles to her name.


She is one of the most consistent stars in world sport, boasting a record of 60 wins from 61 fights and 39 consecutive victories.

Women's boxing came tantalisingly close to inclusion in the 2008 Beijing Games only to be rejected when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) ruled it would not offer added value to the Olympic programme.

Fears were that the sport was not competitive in enough countries which could lead to potentially dangerous mismatches.

They meet on Thursday and this time there is a lot more hope for women to take part.

There have been positive comments from IOC President Jacques Rogge ahead of Thursday's decision, but confirmation of the committee's choice will only come Thursday.


Boxer Taylor impresses Olympic bosses

Monday, 13 July 2009


Irish woman Katie Taylor is almost certainly going to be shooting for gold at the London Olympics in 2012.


Taylor, who continued her staggering run of success at the Sports Palace in St Petersburg at the weekend, revealed how the watching International Olympic Committee members were very impressed with her performances.

“It's looking very good that my dream of boxing at the Olympics is a real possibility. The IOC gave us great feedback so it should happen,” said lightweight Taylor, who defeated Russian No.1 Natalie Bondareva 6-3 on Saturday.

Bondareva was rocked in the opening round when having to take two counts and the women's pound for pound World No.1 went on to record a comprehensive victory which the score didn't reflect.

Taylor added: “The competition here was great, it was like a mini World Championships because the best were here in order to put on a show for the IOC and we certainly did that. It was a great competition.”

The IOC are expected to make a final decision on women's boxing at the 2012 Olympics at their Executive Board meeting in Berlin on August 13.

Meanwhile, Belfast's Ruairi Dalton caused an upset at the World Championships box-offs in the National Stadium on Saturday when he defeated Irish senior champion Declan Geraghty 14-11 in their flyweight semi-final.

The Holy Trinity fighter displayed precision and power as he picked off the champion with some fine textbook punching, while there was an even bigger shock at featherweight when Donegal's Tyrone McCullough stunned EU champion David Oliver Joyce 7-5.

Both boxers took standing counts and received public warnings as they blazed away right to the bell.

Nine times Irish champion Kenny Egan cruised through to this Friday's light-heavyweight final with a 12-1 win over Dennis Hogan.