Taylor is well suited for gold
LONDON 2012:IT WAS as if the world was madly inflating all around her but in her head Katie Taylor’s universe had shrunk to just one more fight. As is often the case in the merciless pressures of Olympic Games, years, months and days reduce to moments.
Today Taylor’s life will meet the point she had always intended it to meet and in Russia’s Sofya Ochigava she will face the opponent she had always expected to face as soon as the draw was known. London 2012 is unfolding as if it has already been written. In that story line a silver medal, which Taylor now has, is not enough.
Yesterday she emerged from South Arena 2 and thanked God on television – “He is my strength and my shield”.
Further down the line of the media zone there was barely enough space to accommodate the swelling number of news outlets that have come to know and want more of the Bray woman.
But while Taylor has remained respectful and cautious of her comments about opponents, Ochigava has a rough edge. When it suits she can play the surly Russian that all the world is against. After she made the final ahead of Brazilian Adriana Araujo, Ochigava dropped a grenade.
“When you are boxing with Taylor you are minus 10 points before the fight,” she said. “You know when you go boxing with Katie Taylor you’re not boxing with her, you’re boxing with all judges around the table and it’s difficult boxing against the system.”
If that plays on Taylor’s mind in any way then Ochigava has scored an unlikely point. But the rule of thumb here is that everyone should worry about the judging. Taylor won’t be concerned about the Russian but she and her father Pete will think hard about how to beat her. Ochigava controversially defeated Taylor on points in Usti, Russia in March 2010 but lost to her in the final of this year’s World Championships in China.
There is history between the two but Pete does not expect the boxers to go to war. Nor does he expect the Olympic final to have spectators jumping out of their seats. “I say the fight will be very cagey, same as the World Championships I should think,” he said. “Who holds their nerve. It’s going to be a battle of nerves. Not one for the armchair viewers. It’s going to be a technical battle I would say.”