Alanna Murphy to use Katie Taylor bout as Commonwealth Games warm-up

Pair met in the first ever women’s bout in Ireland when they were teenagers

Katie Taylor will finally get a chance to win an Irish title in the ring when she faces Alanna Murphy from Belfast in the women’s lightweight final at this year’s national championships. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Katie Taylor will finally get a chance to win an Irish title in the ring when she faces Alanna Murphy from Belfast in the women’s lightweight final at this year’s national championships. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Thu, Feb 20, 2014, 01:00

The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow have become an unlikely aid to Katie Taylor in her preparation for this year’s European Championships.

The Olympic champion, who has never had to fight an opponent for any of her Irish belts because no one has been prepared to take her on, will face Alanna Murphy in this year’s national championships. Belfast’s Murphy travels to compete in the Commonwealth games in July and will use the Irish championships as part of her run in.

It will also act as a useful fight for Taylor as she builds up towards the defence of her European title in Bucharest in June.

Only other entry
Murphy, who Taylor fought in the first ever women’s bout in Ireland when the two were teenagers, works in the British armed forces and is the only other entry in the women’s lightweight (60kg) division.

The entry deadline for the Irish championships closed on Tuesday evening.

“It would be nice to fight someone for the senior title instead of just being handed it,” said Katie. “It’s a little bit strange accepting it when you haven’t done anything.”

The bout is also sure to increase interest in the women’s finals night at the National Stadium on March 8th, the day after the men’s titles are decided.

“I’m preparing for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow at 60kg. What better preparation than world number one Katie Taylor?” said Murphy.

Speculation
In the men’s championships, 2013 World Championship silver medallist Jason Quigley has not entered in the middleweight division, again fuelling speculation he is about to turn professional.

Yesterday the IABA remained unsure of his intentions , although the door has been left fractionally open:

“We are waiting until Friday to ensure no mistake has been made,” said IABA chief executive Fergal Carruth.

“Generally there would have to be a good reason for him not to enter but we are a small organisation and things like this have happened before. But as I say we are not sure what his plans are.”

Quigley’s absence will promote London 2012 boxing team captain Darren O’Neil to the favourite’s position for the middleweight title. Last year O’Neil lost to Quigley on a count back, 32-48, when the final ended in a 13-13 draw.

Gold medal
The result gave Quigley a place on the Irish team at last summer’s European Championships in Minsk, where he won the gold medal.

The Donegal 22-year-old went on to reach the World Championship final in October in Kazakhstan.