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Katie Taylor managing hand injury ahead of first-ever Irish title fight

The Bray woman is set to take on Clonmel’s Shauna O’Keeffe at the National Stadium.

Taylor has not been in the ring since her June win over Mossely (right).
Taylor has not been in the ring since her June win over Mossely (right).
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

KATIE TAYLOR is set to have her first-ever Irish senior title fight on Friday night and the Olympic champion has been carefully managing an old hand injury ahead of the bout.

The Bray woman is scheduled to take on Clonmel’s Shauna O’Keeffe, who defeated Kayleigh Murrihy McCormack of Kilfenora in an all-Munster battle last weekend, in the 60kg lightweight decider at the 2016 Women’s Elite National Championships finals night at the National Stadium.

The Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA) are holding their national senior championships early in preparation for next year’s Olympic Games in Rio, with the men’s competition also under way and due to continue on Saturday night.

29-year old Taylor missed out on the 2015 national championships due to a niggling hand problem, which had threatened to derail her schedule this year, but the five-time world champ has managed the injury and avoided having to undergo surgery on the problem.

“I still have a few niggles with it,” said Taylor after weighing in for the championships recently. “It’s a bruised bone… but it’s okay, it hasn’t stopped me training.

“It got really bad at one stage where I couldn’t even make contact with my left hand and that’s when we were looking at options, but surgery would have put me out for six months and that would’ve been way too long for me,” revealed the Bray native. “Thank God it’s healed up really well and it hasn’t effected my training,” she added.

After avoiding surgery, Taylor claimed gold at the European Games last June, defeating Estelle Mossely of France.

Source: Setanta Sports/YouTube

Friday night will be Taylor’s first bout since that outing last summer and it will also mark the first time Taylor has fought in the ring for an Irish title as her four previous domestic crowns were all won on walkovers.

Eight women’s finals are set to be contested at the weekend, with the deciders likely to impact on selection for next year’s Olympic qualifiers.

While Taylor’s bout against 20-year-old O’Keeffe is the standout attraction, the flyweight final between Ceire Smith and Belfast’s Michaela Walsh should be an intriguing battle. Bantamweight champion Walsh is dropping down in weight to challenge reigning 51kg title holder Smith at one of the thee Olympic weight categories in women’s boxing.

Christina Desmond gets a walkover at middleweight, the third Olympic weight, after Taylor’s Bray clubmate and reigning 75kg champ Laoise Traynor was unable to compete in the tournament due to injury.

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Ciarán Gallagher

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