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Katie Taylor: I'll live with the disappointment of Rio for the rest of my life

Motivated by the heartbreak of the last few months, Katie Taylor is working hard as she considers what step she’ll take next.

EIGHT WEEKS HAVE passed since that, heartbreaking, almost unspeakable, day in Rio.

Life has moved on, but even time is acting as a slow healer for Katie Taylor as she comes to terms with it all; the disappointment, the dejection, the reality that three of the titles she held for so long are no longer in her possession.

Katie Taylor dejected after losing her fight Taylor shows her emotion after defeat in Rio. Source: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

It has been a tough year. Taylor’s aura of invincibility has been pierced by the unfathomable loss of form which has seen her suffer three defeats. European, World and Olympic gold all slipped out of her grasp in the space of five months.

Digesting that fact cannot be easy to swallow, particularly as the hard questions need to be asked and there is a growing consensus that her powers, now that she’s hit 30, are on the wane.

But Taylor is, as her CV will remind us, a champion. No matter how big, or unexpected, the fall, champions will always find a way back.

“That’s life,” she tells The42. “I took a few weeks off for a nice family holiday, a quiet time to reflect.

“There’s no joy in losing fights and I think everyone knows how much the Olympic Games mean to me. I had to reflect on what happened. The emotion of the whole year really.”

All those emotions poured out during the heart-wrenching interview she gave to RTÉ in the immediate aftermath of her defeat to Finnish veteran Mira Potkonen.

The anguish was written all over her face, a tearful Taylor barely able to find the words to describe her third defeat of what turned out to be a turbulent, and nightmarish, year.

Katie Taylor dejected after losing her fight Taylor vowed to come back stronger after the Olympics and has returned to training. Source: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Even now, she can’t quite describe what happened. It’s not that she doesn’t care to think about it but the Bray native can’t bring herself to relive it.

“I haven’t actually watched the fight back no,” Taylor continues. “I don’t really want to. I don’t think I’ll watch that one back. I don’t think I’ll ever watch it back to be honest. It’s such a big competition for me so the disappointment will live with me for the rest of my life.

“I would look at my own performance rather than the performance of the judges as well. I shouldn’t have made the fight so close in the first place, although the judging was very corrupt over there and everyone knows that.”

Upon her return from Rio, Taylor was heartened by the support of her local community and found solace in her strong religious faith during those days of doubt. After a difficult summer, there was always a light at the end of it all.

“It’s not the end of the world,” she admits. “I’ve just had to pick myself back up and get on with it really. I was really encouraged by the letters of support I received. They really lifted me.

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“There’s nothing you can do about what happened and you just have to be positive about the situation. I was in America for a few weeks training and it went really well. I have to concentrate on what’s next.”

At the moment, the next challenge comes in the form of the EUBC European Championships in Sofia next month; although whether she competes in Bulgaria remains uncertain.

Katie Taylor Scoil Iosef Naofa_01 Katie Taylor visited Scoil Iosef Naofa in Corville, Roscrea yesterday as part of P&G’s Thank You Mum campaign. Source: Brian Gavin

A decision needs to be made, or at least announced, on her future as Taylor contemplates the option of turning professional for the last years of a glittering career.

The lure of the pro-ranks has previously led her to suggest it was most likely after Rio but it remains to be seen whether she will commit to another Olympic cycle or not.

“I’m just weighing up all my options at the moment and I’m considering the pro game as well,” Taylor explained.

“I haven’t made any decision as of yet but I’m definitely looking at every avenue. I’m speaking to a few promoters as well but I’m in no rush, I’m taking my time because it’s obviously a huge decision for me.

“The pro-game is an option at the moment but I do love the Olympic Games. As I said, I am weighing up everything.”

Many of her Olympic team-mates, including Michael Conlan and Paddy Barnes, have already jumped ship but you get the sense that Taylor is also eager to set the record straight and not walk away on these terms.

“It’s been a disappointing year but I hope people don’t think I’m on the way down, the best is definitely yet to come from me whether that’s in the pro game or amateur game.

“The fights I have lost this year were very questionable as well so I do feel like I’m the best female boxer in the world. I feel like I can be on top for the next few years and I am very, very motivated anyway.

“What happened doesn’t define who I am. The best is yet to come.”

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