By Jonny Stapleton
IRISH boxing legend Barry McGuigan believes Katie Taylor is one of Ireland’s greatest fighters of all time and has backed her to cement her name in the Irish sporting history by claiming Olympic gold in London 2012.
Three time world champion Taylor collected her fifth European Gold medal in Holland last week with a composed victory over two time world champion Sofya Ochigava.
The shy lightweight has now won an exceptional and unsurpassable three World, five European and four European Union titles in a row.
The Bray native is rightly deemed pound for pound the greatest female amateur on the planet, but some feel the world number one still doesn’t get the credit she deserves.
McGuigan agrees and claims Taylor’s achievements shouldn’t be detracted from because she is female.
The respected boxing pundit and former champion of the world believes Taylor is not only one of the best female fighters of all time, but is one of all Ireland’s greatest boxers regardless of sex.
“ Katie Taylor is already one of our greatest fighters of all time. She could be deemed our greatest amateur. Look what she achieved she is the best in the world at what she does by miles. She is consistently brilliant and has won medals and respect all over the world. She is also a capped Irish footballer and multi talented,” McGugian told Mirror Sport.
The Clones Cyclone admits he initially wasn’t a fan of the farer sex’s involvement in boxing, but stressed seeing Taylor in sparring forced a change of opinion.
McGuigan says seeing Taylor sparring Irish 64kg National champion and boxer of the tournament at this years Senior Championships made him sit up and take note.
The Monaghan native, who is now guiding the career of Carl Frampton also stressed Taylor’s work rate and attitude has to be commended.
“I Love this kids and her family they are great people. Katie is a model example how to live life as a fighter. She single handily changed my opinion of female boxing. I have to admit I never liked to watch female fighting. I presume I saw a bad fight year ago and it turned me off. However Katie is fabulous. She spars our High Performance lads, who themselves are winning medals in male competitions on a regular basis and holds her own. Watching her spar and train with her father she instantly earns your respect. I saw her spar Ross Hickey, who is a quality operator once and she was amazing.”
The only medal missing from the most decorated mantle piece in Irish amateur boxing is an Olympic Gold and McGuigan believes she will collect that next year.
“Katie will win a deserved gold medal at the next Olympics. Without putting pressure on her she I would be flabbergasted if she didn’t go and win gold. She is a quiet lovely person a model example boxer. She lives the life and a lot men could take a leaf out of her book.”