Katie Taylor targets three wins to book Olympic place

Ceire Smith falls at first hurdle at Women’s World Championships in Astana, Kazakhstan

 Ceire Smith: “I faded maybe in the last round and didn’t stick to tactics which I should have. They were all working perfectly and I’ve no one to blame but myself.”

Ceire Smith: “I faded maybe in the last round and didn’t stick to tactics which I should have. They were all working perfectly and I’ve no one to blame but myself.”

 

While Katie Taylor received a bye through to the second round of her sixth consecutive World Championships in Astana, not everything has gone perfectly smoothly for the defending world champion, who starts her tournament on Saturday against Sweden’s Agnes Alexiusson.

Eddie Bolger, who in a recent coaching reshuffle will be in Taylor’s corner for the championships, did not receive his Kazakhstan entry visa on time to be in Astana for the opening two days of action.

Despite applying to London early on May 2nd, the coach who successfully guided Irish light heavyweight Joe Ward to Rio, will fly out on Friday and should be available for Taylor’s first bout.

With coaches Zaur Antia and Gerry Storey in Astana she would not have been short on corner guidance had the delay been any longer. But for the structured Taylor the margins are important. Her style is more considered and meticulous than seat of the pants stuff.

“I always go into each competition very well prepared and this is no different,” she said. “I will be doing my best not only to qualify but to get a second gold at Rio.”

Second Captains

In that quest her draw keeps her away from Yana Alekseevna until the semi-finals. Alekseevna, the first boxer in five years and only the second in 10 years to have beaten Taylor when they met at last month’s Olympic qualifier in Turkey, is seeded five to Taylor’s top seeding as world number one.

Taylor’s first objective is to make the semifinals, which requires three wins that would take her into the last four. That would ensure she is in Rio in August to defend her Olympic title.

The defending champion from Jeju, South Korea will not be accompanied by Ceire Smith who went out in the first day in Astana on a split decision to Colombian Pan-American silver medallist Ingrit Valencia.

The Cavan flyweight blamed herself for not sticking to instruction over the four two-minute rounds and looked to the fourth particularly, where she might have let it go in favour of Valencia, who won 2-0. Two of the three judges scored the bout 39-37 and the third Australian, Moise Mbemap, called it equal 38-38.

“Gutted obviously a split decision,” said the Irish southpaw. “I faded maybe in the last round and didn’t stick to tactics which I should have. They were all working perfectly and I’ve no one to blame but myself.

“I was too slow to implement the plan. She was tough, but I wouldn’t say she was that aggressive. She definitely dominated the last round. I can’t take that away from her. My first was probably my best round. Second you could have gone half and half and in the last I was definitely on the front foot but I definitely gave it to her.”

Friday will be a busy day for Irish fighters with Dervla Duffy (54kg), Moira McElligot (57kg), Kelly Harrington (64kg) and middleweight Christina Desmond all in the ring.

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