Katie Taylor has trailblazer Mary Kom in her sights

Irish boxer wants to match Indian’s record of five successive world titles

Katie Taylor in action against Estelle Mossely at the European Championships earlier this year in Bucharest. Photograph: Octavian Cocolos/Inpho

Katie Taylor in action against Estelle Mossely at the European Championships earlier this year in Bucharest. Photograph: Octavian Cocolos/Inpho

 

Among the records in the possession of Katie Taylor, there is one she still doesn’t have. It belongs to an Indian fighter called Mary Kom.

This morning when the Olympic champion climbs into the ring in Jeju City with Dominica’s Valerian Spicer, she will begin her quest to draw level with Kom’s record of five successive world titles.

Kom, like Taylor, was a trailblazer around the world and comes from a country that may have respected women taking part in boxing even less than Ireland once did before Pete Taylor built a gym in his back garden.

But Kom is not at these World Championships because of injury, which offers Taylor an opportunity to equal the record if she can make it through this week.

One difference is that all of Taylor’s four previous titles have been at 60kg, while Kom won her fifth consecutive gold in Barbados 2010 in the 48 kg weight class, after AIBA had dropped the 46kg class.

Looms large

“It’s great to be in this position and have a chance to defend my title, go for the fifth time and have a chance to make history this week and equal Mary Kom’s record,” said the Irish lightweight.

“ She has been a hero for every female boxer around the world. What she has done for women’s boxing is incredible and everyone looks up to her. I’ve met her loads of times and we’ve had great conversations.

“She’s a Christian as well and we’ve spoken about that. She won it five times, different weights. It’s probably better to do it at different weights. I’m surprised I kept 60kg for so long . . . but she has been incredible.”

The 34-year-old Spicer is English-born with a Dominican mother. In the Commonwealth Games this summer, she made the second round before losing to New Zealand’s Alexis Pritchard.

Familiar face

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She met the Basel-born 32-year-old in Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games in the 51kg class and won the bout 3-0. The Belfast boxer will be expecting more of the same as she went on to make it to the final before losing to Olympic champion, Nicola Adams.

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