KATIE TAYLOR WILL win at least a bronze medal at London 2012 after victory in her first ever Olympic boxing fight.
The four-time world champion, competing in the women’s lightweight 60kg category, saw off the Team GB’s Natasha Jonas by a score of 26-15 at a packed ExCel Arena this afternoon.
Taylor was 5-2 up after the first round but Jonas drew the second round 5-5 before Taylor took control in the third round with a 9-4 win.
Speaking to RTE Sport and our man Will Downing afterwards, she said: ”Hopefully by the end of the week I’ll be Olympic champion. That’s what I came here for.
I’m going for a gold medal and nothing else. I’m just concentrating now on my next fight. No one’s ever happy with a bronze medal.
“The first week was okay but the last few days have dragged in. I’ve been waiting for this all my life so a couple more days didn’t make a difference.
“I just tried to stay calm and collected. I knew the support would be great but I didn’t realise how great it would be. It was hard not to get excited with that crowd. I definitely had more support than the girl from GB. It was incredible really. ”
Her father and coach Peter said: “It was unbelievable. We did the same as we always do with any tournament whether it’s in Bray or the world championships. They’re the same nerves to tell you the truth.
“She experienced that kind of ovation when she boxed in the O2, which was a great experience that stood to her. Hopefully everyone’s here for the next bout and we get the same support.”
Opponent Jonas added: “I’m going to make no excuses whatsoever. Katie Taylor was the best boxer on the day. I was the fittest and healthiest I’ve been all year and she still beat me so I take my hat off to her.”
After John Joe Nevin booked his place in the men’s bantamweight semi-final yesterday, it means Ireland are now guaranteed two medals at these Games.
Taylor will face Tajikistan’s Mavuna Chorieva in the semi-final on Wednesday afternoon (2pm).