Taylor leaning towards Rio Games
INTERVIEW WITH KATIE TAYLOR: The Olympic champion tells IAN O'RIORDANwhy the amateur game has more appeal despite professional offers
WHAT KATIE did next – the one imponderable that could end up defining her career as much as her Olympic gold medal.
It might not be decided today or tomorrow but if the Katie Taylor in Dublin yesterday has her say then she’ll stay in amateur boxing all the way to Rio 2016, defend her Olympic title, then worry about what to do next.
“I would love to stay amateur, to be honest, and go for Rio, in four years,” she says, with still irresistible innocence.
“I suppose the only thing I haven’t done in amateur boxing is defend my Olympic title. That’s something I would love to do, if I can work it out. I don’t think there’ll be anything better than boxing again for the gold medal in Rio.
“At the same time we have been offered a few nice contracts around the professional game. That would be a new challenge too, so I’m still not entirely sure, will take a little more time over the next few weeks to think about it.”
It’s clear, however, which way she’s leaning – the same things that drove her to the gold medal in London still strong enough to drive her on towards Rio: that desire to be the best, the appetite for the hard work, the lack of fear of anyone or anything, only of losing.
The truth is what Taylor achieved in London exactly eight weeks ago will never be surpassed, only matched, and she senses that amateur boxing offers the best chance of that: “That’s it. I think the Olympics will always be the pinnacle. If I did turn pro, would I ever get back to how I felt at the Olympics? Defending that title would get that feeling.
“The professional game is more like a business, a cut-throat business, really. You have to get the right fights, the right promoter. With amateur boxing you’re just there to fight the best. And I think it’s harder to win titles in amateur boxing. But I absolutely love it, and the Olympics. It’s a challenge to defend the titles, every year, as well, so I would have no trouble with motivating myself to go on, either.”
At 26 Taylor still has time on her side to consider both – stay on the amateur road until Rio, then decide if the professional road is still tempting enough. Right now, there are temptations in both directions, even if those closest to her, including her father and coach Pete Taylor, would like her to consider yet another direction.
“I know, my dad still wants me to retire, now,” she says. “So maybe if I did turn pro he would have a nervous breakdown. But no, he’s leaving it completely up to me, and whichever decision I make he’ll be 100 per cent behind me. But he’s writing out the programmes already, getting me ready for next year.
“We have had some pro contract offers from the US, a few in Germany, and England. And we’re looking at some of the fights available. But I don’t know too much about the women’s professional game. I don’t think anyone does, really.
“Then there’s the contract with the Irish Sports Council. That will be crucial, of course, to staying amateur. Dad has been talking with them, and the boxing federation. I don’t think I’m allowed to talk about that, actually.”