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By Bernard O'Neill on Thursday, August 9th, 2012

Katie Taylor realised a lifetime ambition after winning gold at the 2012 Olympic Games in London……


Katie Taylor is the new – in every sense of the word – Olympic lightweight champion.

The Bray woman beat Russian southpaw Sofya Ochigava at the ExCel in London today to become the second Irish boxer in the 101-year history of the Irish Amateur Boxing Association to win Olympic gold.

Taylor, who beat Ochigava in the 2012 AIBA World final in China and in the 2011 European final in Holland, was handed a 10-8 decision amid joyous scenes by the banks of the Thames.

The victory bridges a 20-year gap since Michael Carruth won welterweight gold at the 1992 Games in Barcelona.

Women’s boxing made its Olympic debut at London 2012 in three weight categories – flyweight, lightweight and middleweight.

Likewise, Great Britain flyweight Nicola Adams and US middleweight Claressa Shields, who both won gold today, and Taylor, are the first ever female Olympic champions.

Ochigava edged 2-1 ahead by the end of the second round of today’s clash – the first finished 2-2, Taylor rocking her opponent with a big right to restore parity on the bell – but Taylor came storming to take the third 4-1 en route to sealing an historic victory in a fourth and final round in which you could cut the tension with a knife.

Tommy Murphy, the President of the Irish Amateur Boxing Association, said: “Katie is a fantastic ambassador for the sport and she now has an Olympic gold medal to add to all the other honours she has won.

“She totally deserves this for all her hard work and dedication to the sport. This is a proud, proud day for Irish amateur boxing.”

Dominic O’Rourke, IABA Director of Boxing, added: “The coaches, Pete and Zuar, got the tactics spot on. Katie had a phenomenal third round. This is a proud day and a fantastic result for the clubs and the coaches and female boxers in Ireland. They will be inspired by this win and they are capable of doing the same because of the systems we have in place.”

Today’s victory was the 132nd of Taylor’s career since 2001 and Irish Team manager Des Donnelly reckons that her win will be an enormous boost for John Joe Nevin, Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan in Friday’s semi-finals.

“It is an absolutely fabulous occasion for Irish boxing. Katie was magnificent. absolutely terrific. We have three in the semi-finals tomorrow and the boys will be inspired by this.”

Pat Hickey, the President of the Olympic Council of Ireland, presented Taylor with gold at the medals ceremony.

Irish boxing has now won one gold and at least three bronze medals at the 30th Olympiad.

Source IABA