EVERYBODY loses, sooner or later. That, sadly, is one of the first lessons of amateur boxing. It makes Katie Taylor’s universally accepted status as the world’s best female boxer all the more remarkable. As well as her Olympic gold medal, Taylor has won four consecutive World championship gold medals and the campaign for her fifth will begin when the women’s World championships get underway in Jeju, Korea on Sunday (November 16).
A fifth gold medal would put Taylor level with Mary Kom’s World championship tally (an injury means the Indian star won’t be participating in this tournament herself) and so far the 28-year-old Taylor has shown no signs of slowing down.
The draw takes place on Sunday morning and the boxing begins that night (at approximately 10am UK time). Taylor’s Russian rival Sofia Ochigava is a perennial threat and, after scoring a key win over France’s Estelle Mossely, Chantelle Cameron could certainly do well for GB.
Valerian Spicer, from Islington ABC but representing boxing minnow Dominica at 60kgs, will be in the eye of the storm. She’s come close to boxing Taylor before. “She asked for a bout a month ago so I was actually going to box her then,” Spicer said. “It fell through for some reason.
“She’s brilliant, when I first started boxing I looked up to her and now I feel like I can compete with her.”
With lightweight being one of only three Olympic weights, it will be one of the most fiercely contested divisions. Spicer boxed at the Commonwealth Games, where she fell just short of reaching the medal stages, and just like the other lightweights dreams of going to Rio 2016. “That’s why I’m still in it,” Spicer continued. “All the tournaments I’ll be doing over the next year and a half will be geared up to Rio.”
She is though at a disadvantage against full-time athletes. Valerian’s had to fit her training in around work (she’d been able to take time off for the Commonwealths). AIBA’s ‘Road to Dream’ programme for developing boxing nations brought her to Korea. “After the Commonwealths I had few weeks off to think about what I wanted to do and I decided to carry on,” she said. “I don’t think I wanted to go out like that. I’d just reached that level and I can compete at that level.
“Going back to a full time job, it’s been really difficult trying to fit everything in again but I have done it. I’ve felt that I’ve been fitter than ever and this training camp has been brilliant. It’s been really good final preparations.”
A record number of 337 boxers from 74 countries are registered to attend. For the tournament preview and interviews with GB Boxers don’t miss this week’s issue of Boxing News.
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