Katie Taylor named Irish Times/Sport Ireland Sportswoman for May
Victory over Natasha Jonas in Manchester the latest landmark in her legacy
Katie Taylor in action during her victory over Natashe Jonas in May. Photograph: Inpho/Dave Thompson
Katie Taylor often talks about her desire to leave a legacy in boxing, one that will inspire female fighters “of the next generation to dream big dreams”, as she put it. It would appear that that legacy is already kicking in, even while Taylor is still very much active, Kellie Harrington, Michaela Walsh and Aoife O’Rourke now all dreaming big Olympic dreams after qualifying for Tokyo in the last week - the ultimate dream, of course, to emulate Taylor’s golden 2012 achievement.
It was one of the fighters she beat en-route to gold in London, Natasha Jonas, who Taylor met again in her latest professional world title fight, and just like that quarter-final meeting nine years ago, their bout in Manchester was, as the Bray woman described it, “a brilliant showcase for women’s boxing and boxing overall”.
She needed to use every ounce of her experience and wiliness, not to mention her speed and footwork, to withstand a gutsy challenge from the Liverpudlian who gave her one of her toughest fights yet, as evidenced by the judges’ scoring at the end - two of them gave it to Taylor by just a point, 96-95, the third scoring it 96-94 in favour of the Irish champion.
“It was a thrilling fight,” she said after, “it was probably a bit too exciting for my liking. It was definitely a toe-to-toe battle. I showed the heart of a champion and that’s what won me the fight in the end.”
The victory, in what was her 12th world title contest, saw Taylor retain her WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO lightweight titles and take her professional record to 18-0. After a couple of weeks’ rest back in Bray, Taylor returned to her Connecticut base to resume training, her next fight likely to be in Leeds in September when her opponent could be Estelle Mossely, one of the very few people to have a victory over Taylor in their CV - the French woman won their 2016 World Championship meeting before going on to win gold at the Rio Olympics.
Beyond that, Taylor is scheduled to fight again in December, a rematch with Jonas a possibility or a much anticipated fight against Amanda Serrano, while she is also eyeing up a meeting with Jessica McCaskill to give her a shot at becoming a two-weight undisputed world champion.
In other words, Taylor has no plans to hang up those gloves any time soon. Her legacy is already substantial, but she plans on making it even greater.
Previous monthly winners (the awards run from December 2020 to November 2021, inclusive - only one monthly award can be won in any year, but the achievements of each sportswoman through the year are taken in to account when it come to choosing the overall winner):
December: Aoife Doyle (Camogie) and Sinead Goldrick (Gaelic football). The pair were both chosen as the player of the match in their respective All Ireland finals, Doyle’s display in the Kilkenny attack against Galway helping her county end a run of three successive final defeats, while an outstanding performance against Cork by Goldrick was a major factor in Dublin completing a four-in-a-row.
January: Nadia Power (Athletics). The 23-year-old Dubliner enjoyed an exceptional start to the year, setting a new Irish 800m indoor record in Vienna and knocking another two seconds off that mark a fortnight later in Torun, Poland. She’s currently on track to qualify for the Olympics, ranked at 31 with 48 places available.
February: Rachael Blackmore (Horse racing). She picked up our February award after a stellar month, a 10 length victory on Honeysuckle in the Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown the highlight. Since then? She’s done quite well: she was crowned top jockey at Cheltenham with six wins, won the Aintree Grand National, like you do, finished runner-up in the Irish jockeys championship with 92 winners, before winning another Champion Hurdle on board Honeysuckle, this time at Punchestown.
March: Leona Maguire (Golf). The Cavan native secured her first ever LPGA Tour top 10 finish on American soil when she tied for sixth at the Drive On Championship in Florida in March. Come April, she topped that achievement by finishing joint second at the LOTTE Championship in Hawaii, earning her prize money of just over €100,000 and moving her up to 10th on the season’s order of merit.
April: Orla O’Dwyer (Australian Rules). One of the country’s most gifted dual players, starring for Tipperary in both Gaelic football and camogie, O’Dwyer became just the second Irish woman to win the Aussie Rules AFLW Premiership title when she was part of the Brisbane Lions team that beat Adelaide Crows in April’s Grand Final.