KATIE TAYLOR IS the undisputed favourite in the lightweight division of women’s boxing, having accrued four successive world titles and five European crowns.
But she was not dealt the easiest of tasks when the draw was made.
Although she received a bye through to the quarter-finals, courtesy of her number one seeding, Taylor will face either Britain’s Natasha Jonas or Queen Underwood of the United States in the last eight.
The winner of that fight will be guaranteed a bronze medal at the very least.
Both have pushed her hard in bouts, Jonas losing just 6-3 in Bulgaria while Underwood came from 11 points behind to lead by a point with 16 seconds of their clash remaining at the 2010 world championships.
Taylor, who had just taken a standing count, somehow gained the two points in the dying seconds to prevail over her 28-year-old five-time American champion, who suffered years of sex abuse suffered at the hands of her father.
Peter Taylor, the Irish fighter’s father and coach from the age of 12, says that the tough draw and the previous close encounters with her two rivals is not a blow.
“Katie would be prepared to fight anyone, that’s why she’s been a world champion four times because she’s beaten everybody,” said Taylor, who was born in England.
“Every fight is a final, every fight is a gold medal bout,” added Taylor, who was a decent amateur boxer himself.
Taylor said that his daughter – who is seeded to face Bulgarian Sofya Ochigava in the final – was in fine form and not fearful of appearing on the biggest stage.
“She’s in great form, she’s a different girl from the time when she fought Jonas in Bulgaria,” said Taylor.
“We know all the girls inside out but we are just going to focus on Jonas and Underwood. It is a going to be a great fight and whoever wins will be deserving of it.”
Taylor is confident his daughter will prevail and show the wider public that women’s boxing is deserving of its Olympic status while at the same time confirming she is the best in the world.
“You’ve got to beat them all anyway if you’re going to be champion,” he said.
“I think it’s great too because it will enable Katie to show the world what female boxing is all about and it’s not a shoo-in, these competitions are difficult to win. It’s a great platform for her to show off her skills.”