Katie Taylor considering switch to professional ranks

Taylor has held talks with Eddie Hearn but is yet to make a decision over future

Katie Taylor will not be defending her European Championship gold medal. She beat Estelle Mossley in the final in 2014 to secure her sixth title in a row. Photograph: Getty

Katie Taylor will not be defending her European Championship gold medal. She beat Estelle Mossley in the final in 2014 to secure her sixth title in a row. Photograph: Getty

 

Katie Taylor is currently in the USA training and will not be travelling to Sofia in Bulgaria next month with the Irish Women’s boxing team to defend her European Championship title.

It will be the first European Championships Taylor will have missed for over a decade, having won the title on six previous occasions.

The Irish lightweight, who has had a disappointing year, having been World and Olympic Champion, is considering her move in to professional boxing.

However, she has not yet signed an agreement with any promoter but is considering offers and has had talks with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Sports.

“The reality is she is in talks,” said her mother Bridget, who spent a week in the US with her daughter but is now back in Ireland.

“She did meet Eddie Hearn. But there is nothing signed. There is nothing signed and sealed yet. She is currently in the states training and she is enjoying her training again. There’s a bit of spark there with her again. At the minute she is exploring the situation.

“Now, she will not be going to the European Championships. Shauna O’Keefe, I believe had replaced her on the team. She wasn’t going to go to the Europeans anyway.

“I think she was going to give herself a bit of a rest, a bit of a break and try to build herself up in terms of her training. So there is nothing signed or sealed at the moment and that is the gospel truth.”

The 30-year-old had been back in training with the Irish High Performance team in between her visits to the US. Her initial stint was for three weeks and she returned to Ireland on October 10th. She spent some time at home and then returned to again train in professional US gyms, which suggests she is training for a purpose.

“She went back out to the states last Saturday to continue with strength and conditioning,” added Bridget. “She was back in training with the High Performance as well before she went over to the States. She went back over to basically explore her options.

“She has been going around the pro gyms over there doing a little bit. She likes the feel of it. I don’t want to say where she is based. But she’s out there enjoying it.

“She has no distractions and that’s why she’s enjoying it. You know the tough year she has had so yeah…it’s been very good for her in the States and it has been very positive. It’s a little bit like ‘watch this space’ and see what emerges from it. But right now there is nothing done and dusted.”

It has been the most difficult year of Katie’s standout amateur career. She lost her world crown earlier this year in Astana, taking the bronze medal before making an early exit in Rio at the Olympic Games.

Her defence of her Olympic title ended at the first hurdle after she was sensationally defeated by Finland’s Mira Potkonen in the quarter final of the lightweight division.

Having won the inaugural women’s competition in London four years ago, she was heavily favoured to progress by beating the 35-year-old Finn, who she had beaten several times previously.

The breadth of her achievement prior to that - six successive European gold medals, four successive World gold medals and the first Olympic gold for a lightweight female boxer - made this year’s defeats all the more acute.

Katie would have stayed on the top podium grant of €40,000 per year with the Irish Sports Council had she remained an amateur and competed with the Irish team.

However as professional boxers are increasingly permitted to compete in the Olympic Games, there may be no hindrance for her to box in Tokyo in 2020 if she has the appetite.

“It wouldn’t be an easy decision to walk away from the Europeans,” said Bridget. “Amateur boxing has been good to her. She has enjoyed the amateur game. Of late she might have become a little bit disheartened by it. It has been a little bitter sweet near the end.

“But yeah, it would be safe to say she is seriously considering turning professional but that was always on the cards. It would always have been a case of when and if, that kind of a way. It was always something she was going to explore.

“But still it wouldn’t be an easy decision to make. Obviously career wise it has to make sense, financially and in other ways.”

Unconfirmed reports say Katie is scheduled to fight in her first bout next month with Matchroom undercard of Tommy Coyle’s bout with John Wayne Hibbert at Wembley Arena.

However, Bridget, who has been part of her daughter’s team since the beginning of her career and who is a qualified boxing referee points out that many things that have been printed about Katie, particularly in the last eight months have not been accurate.

“It is going to be a matter of is the timing right or not. What she is just doing at the minute is getting back into the love of her sport. I think she fell out of love with it and she is just trying to be out there enjoying what she is doing.

“There seems to be a little spark in there at the moment. As I said there is nothing signed but she is definitely exploring it. There is no doubt about that.”

Katie Taylor’s gold medals:

Olympic Champion: 2012

World Champion: 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014

European Champion: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014

European Union Champion: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013

European Games Champion: 2015

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