Taylors and media left in the dark over 2013 Euros
Katie Taylor, who will face Polish fighter Karolina Graczyk in the Elite Championship finals in Citywest. photograph: Inpho
BOXING:It seems Pete Taylor was unaware of the possible demise of this year’s Europeans, writes JOHNNY WATTERSON
It is not very often you stand up after a press conference and experience a feeling that is both surreal and confusing. When you leave more flummoxed than when you entered and when you have to ask yourself what went on, it occasionally means, well, you have been to an Olympic boxing event.
The Citywest Hotel hosted the Irish boxing team minus Olympic bronze medal winner Michael Conlan, who was unwell, Darren O’Neill and Adam Nolan, Katie Taylor’s Olympic stablemate out in Bray.
Katie was there with London and Beijing bronze medal winner Paddy Barnes, London silver medallist John Joe Nevin, and Beijing silver medallist Kenny Egan, two female boxers and several other Irish champions and officials.
Within 12 minutes of the conference starting Pete Taylor, Katie’s father and trainer, apologised to the room to say they had an appointment and had to leave. Before departing Pete said that he was satisfied with Katie’s program which has now become five fights between February 22nd and March 22nd as the Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA) announced they are bringing in a Polish fighter, Karolina Graczyk, for the National Elite Championships finals, which are being moved from the National Stadium out to Citywest later this month.
Graczyk, who the Irish lightweight champion beat in the final of the 2011 European Union final, is not an official challenger for the Irish title but is in as a support bout. No Irish fighter has entered the 60kg division in which Katie fights although names are entered in the weight above and below that category.
It has become a pointless exercise for non-international fighters to enter against the European, world and Olympic champion and even if somebody did, the IABA may step in and stop what would likely be a shocking mismatch.
“I’m happy with the program. It’s like a Europeans or an Olympics,” said Pete referring to tournament-style boxing which will occupy Katie for four weeks. On that five-fight schedule he was similarly positive. “It’s great at the moment fighting in Ireland because the Euros are in Ireland so there is no point in us travelling away,” he said.
It all made sound sense and Pete and Katie departed.
Perhaps 10 minutes after they left IABA president Tommy Murphy was asked about the status of the women’s European Championships, which had been referred to and which last month IABA officials said had been offered to Ireland to stage and had to be rubber stamped.
The reason given as to why an announcement about the championships had been delayed was because of a change of European presidents and a move from France to Assisi in Italy of the presidential offices.
But the answer from Murphy, and clarified by a second official, was not good news for Ireland staging the women’s European Championship, nor, was it good news for the women’s European Championships to be staged at all this year.
Not looking good
“It doesn’t look good for the women’s Euros to be held at all in 2013,” said the president.
It was subsequently explained that the world governing body had sent a letter to the IABA explaining that they would prefer if the women’s European Championships were to be held in the same year as the women’s World Championships.
That event is to be staged next year in Canada.
Unless the governing body changes its mind – which given the way this soap opera has run is a possibility – there will be no women’s European Championships at all in 2013.
It must have occurred to everyone in the room that the people pivotal to the entire women’s European Championships project, Pete and Katie, did not know of the development otherwise Pete would not have referred to it before leaving. It begs the question, why didn’t an official correct Pete when he referred to the “Euros”?
The position now seems to be that not only has Ireland’s Olympic gold medallist and the pound-for-pound best female boxer in the world been denied major championships in her own country for what would have been the first time but may not have any international event at all in which to compete this year.
As it stand now Katie has five scheduled fights, one against Poland’s Graczyk in the Elite Championship finals on February 22nd, her first in Ireland since winning the Olympic gold medal in London. That fight is two days before her second bout with promoter Brian Peters in the Bord Gáis Theatre in Grand Canal Dock. The first fight is one Murphy said Katie must take.
“We are the national boxing championships, she’ll have to box in the senior championships and everyone knows that,” said the president.