1 December 2008 – by Kevin Byrne
Irelands boxing queen Katie Taylor has retained her lightweight world title after a punishing win over home favourite Dong Cheng in Ningbo City, China on Saturday.
Going into the 60Kg final, there were some misgivings in the camp that Taylor could struggle in similar circumstances to Kenny Egan, who many feel was robbed in his Olympic final in Beijing to a Xiaoping Zhang. But after another characteristically brutal display, the Bray woman banished any doubts on the way to a 13-2 victory.
The all conquering 22-year-old is now the European, EU and world champion – and Irelands second lightweight in barely a month to grab gold at a World Championship. She follows in the footsteps of Mayos Ray Moylett, who scored big at the World Youth Championships in Mexico last month.
After a tremendous year for amateur boxing in Ireland, Taylor felt the weight of expectation as she entered the ring.
Speaking to RTE after the final against Dong Cheng, Taylor said, It was a great performance, shes a very experienced boxer so I was delighted the way it happened. I just kinda held on in the last round being so far ahead. It means everything to me, this is what Ive been training for all year.
Theres so much pressure on me as well this year heading into the Championships, everyones expecting me to ease through every fight and get the gold medal. So I just feel a bit relieved as well after winning it. It means everything to me.
Taylors last-16 clash with Czech Danusa Dilofova provoked fury from the Irish camp when Dilofova was helped peg back a 3-0 deficit by the referees decision to dock Taylor two points for holding. A late point sealed a 4-3 win but her team were so angry they lodged a complaint about the referee, Ukranian Eduard Hodes.
And Taylor, who has been beaten just once in international competition since claiming her first world crown in 2006, revealed just how much of a scare that fight was.
The second fight was a very close fight, I only beat the Czech girl 4-3, that was the closest bout I had in the championship. I nearly had a heart attack when it went three-all and in the last round I needed the point to get the win. It could have gone the other way, it was touch and go throughout the whole fight so I was just glad to sneak the point and hold on. I was thanking God after that. But overall it was a great championship for me. I boxed very well throughout the whole competition so I was delighted.
Ireland team manager Anna Moore was delighted with the performance in China.
Katie was 6-0 up at the end of the first round and there was no stopping her after that. It was a brilliant performance from her from start to finish and we are all absolutely thrilled, she said.
For Taylor, the Olympic Games are next on her horizon. It is yet to be decided if womens boxing will be approved for inclusion for the first time. But Irelands two-time world champion hopes her time will come.
All the female boxers over here hope it will be in the 2012 Olympics, there are people here from the Olympic Committee and I think they were all very impressed with us. I think they are going to make a decision sometime in the new year so, fingers crossed for that.”