Katie Taylor odds
Ireland’s golden girl Katie Taylor sealed her fourth straight World Championship win in China in the early hours of Saturday morning and immediately set her sights on Olympic gold at this summer’s Games in London.
Taylor saw off the challenge of her closest rival, Russian Sofya Ochigava, in a four point 11-7 win in northern China. The gold medal at the World Championship ensures that the Bray boxer will be the number one seed for the lightweight division in London in seven weeks’ time.
This takes her straight through to the quarter-finals and only one win from a medal-winning position. She is Ireland’s best hope of an Olympic gold medal since the Atlanta Games in 1996.
Ladbrokes make Taylor 1/20 to secure a medal at the 2012 London Games, while she is priced at 4/11 to return home with the coveted gold. Following her win in China, she was relieved to have finally confirmed her participation at the Olympics after years of waiting.
“To win the world title for the fourth time in a row and qualify for the Olympics is amazing. For the last couple of years people have been wishing me well for the Olympics and I have had to tell them that I hadn’t qualified yet,” Taylor said after Saturday’s win.
“There was so much pressure on me going into this competition and it’s just a big relief to finally qualify and to be going into the Olympics as the current world champion.”
Russian Ochigava had previously dished out a rare defeat to Taylor, and the Irish girl was aware that she had to lead from the front in this contest in order to nullify her opponent’s effective counter punching style and force gaps in her defence that she could then exploit.
“Every fight is a different fight at this level. In the final it was a game of patience as one or two points would make all the difference. We’re great friends outside the ring but inside it’s always such a difficult fight against her. It was so close all the way through. I just had to keep my concentration,” Taylor continued.
Establishing that crucial lead going into the final round was the key to victory for the defending champion.
“I got a couple of points ahead in the third round and then she had to come after me in the final round. She’s a very good counter puncher so it was always going to be difficult for her once she goes a few points down.”
Taylor will take a one-week break on her return to Ireland before focusing on the intense build up to London, and she hopes to finally have her dream come true and see the Irish flag raised in honour of a gold medal.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to represent my country at the Games and come home with the gold,” she added.
“I just thank God that I’m there now and I’m going to prepare the best I can. I’ll be going to the Olympics in the best shape I’ve ever been in and hopefully if everything goes well I can come home with a gold medal.”