Katie Taylor earned it all going against grain – some things never change

Poster girl of London is trying to reclaim ground for women’s boxing

Katie Taylor will fight in the European Championships in Bucharest. Last year the event was cancelled. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Katie Taylor will fight in the European Championships in Bucharest. Last year the event was cancelled. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Sat, May 31, 2014, 01:00

Sometimes it seems as though Katie Taylor simply salted herself away after the summer of the Big Bang. Sometimes it feels like she appears on the skyline only as a flickering image, her long days spent thumping punch bags as big as she is at the gym in Bray.

Even now as the European Championships begin in Polyvalent Hall in Bucharest, there is a sense that the European, world and Olympic champion has receded back to a more sheltered place in the Irish bosom, not out leading an Olympic clamour like back when the ExCel Arena held so many promises.

The European Boxing Federation will point to this year’s entry of 172 boxers from 31 countries compared to the first championships held in France in 2001, where 78 fighters came from 14 countries, as movement forward.

There has been organic progress but the assurances of London, where the sessions were wild and boisterous and full, remain as much broken as unfulfilled. The male boxing world is changing at such a pace it is confused and difficult to follow, but Taylor stands with her face into the wind trying to reclaim ground that she believed had already been won. London is worth remembering if only for what has gone.

“All of IRELAND Raise A Pint for Katie Taylor’s Gold Medal Russian beatdown!!”Samuel L Jackson.

“Katie Taylor congratulations on winning gold. You are amazing” – Oscar DeLaHoya.

“Wooooooohoooooo!! So delighted for Katie. Her dream achieved. Very proud” – Brian O’Driscoll.

“It’s gold for the Fighting Irish!! Katie Taylor wins gold for Ireland! ” – Evander Holyfield.

“Ireland was definitely in the house for Katie Taylor. Congrats Katie. #WorldClass”Lennox Lewis.

Reverting to type

Post London was a time of enlightenment, a chance to push on. But less than a year after Seb and Boris folded the tent in Streatham, the feeling returned that the sport was reverting to type. The backdrop was Taylor accumulating discourtesies and knockbacks.

Reward for the sell-out crowds in London was to cancel the 2013 European Championships. Here they are now in 2014, the same year as the women’s World Championships in Korea.

An absurd aside to the cancellation was that Taylor and her team were led to believe the 2013 event would be staged in Dublin. A coronation of sorts. But before dates were offered, it slipped out at a press conference, which Taylor attended to talk about her preparation for the competition, that the event had been scrapped.

There was no reason given by the European Boxing Federation. There was no information about the why or what debate took place or who voted or how it helped the sport.

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