Boxing "a corrupt sport at times," says Taylor

Three-time World Amateur Champion talks about her recent defeat in Bulgaria and her Olympic ambitions.

Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie

BOXING AUTHORITIES NEED to radically re-examine the way in which amateur fights are scored and judged, according to Irish star Katie Taylor.

The three-time World Amateur Champion was on the end of a particularly outrageous decision in the lightweight final of the Strandja Multi-Nations tournament in Bulgaria last month.

Though the referee, ringside announcer, and Taylor’s camp all felt that the Bray woman had done more than enough to win her bout against Denica Eliseeva, the ringside judges determined the Bulgarian to have won by five points to one.

Speaking yesterday to launch a new Lucozade ad campaign in which she stars alongside hip-hop star Tinie Tempah and Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker, the 24-year-old claimed that the defeat did not bother her as much as the underlying problems surrounding the way fights are judged.

“Boxing can be a corrupt sport at times,” Taylor said. “You’re always depending on the judges around the ring to score the fight fairly.”

When you’re up against a home boxer in one of those competitions, it’s always going to be hard to get the decision.

I think the Bulgarians won every fight in the finals that day – they were beating Cubans, European Champions, everyone. It was just ridiculous really, the scoring throughout the whole competition was crazy.

“People shouldn’t be allowed to judge fights if they’re not going to be fair,” she added. “They need to be suspended for it.”

The disappointment of Bulgaria has been put far to the back of Taylor’s mind however as she looks to the future and to the 2012 Olympics in particular.

The first and only step on the road to London will be next year’s AIBA World Championships in China. With the event serving as the only Olympic qualifier for female boxers, Taylor’s description of the event as “the biggest competition of my life” is fairly accurate.

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Between now and then, however, she has the considerable challenges of both the EU Boxing Championships and the European Championships to deal with and she insists that she is not getting ahead of herself.

“People seem to think it’s a foregone conclusion that I’ll be at the London Olympics, but I still have to qualify.”

And if she does qualify, how will she deal with the pressure of being one of Ireland’s top medal hopes at the London games?

The pressure doesn’t really get to me. There’s always going to be pressure when you go into any sort of competition.

There is going to be a lot of pressure on me, but I have to treat in the same way that I would the World or European Championships. I suppose it’s just like any other competition.

On the basis of her performances in “any other competition” to date, 2012 looks like it could be a very special year for Katie Taylor.

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Niall Kelly

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