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Ireland's Katie Taylor suffers shock defeat in Olympic qualifier to put Rio hopes in jeopardy

Yana Alexseevna of Azerbaijan dealt Katie Taylor a shock defeat at the European Olympic qualifying event in Turkey this afternoon, delaying the Olympic champion's qualification for this summer's games in Rio.

A win on Friday afternoon would have seen Taylor book her place in the upcoming Olympiad but the defeat now means that she must make the semi-finals of next month's world championship in Astana to book her ticket on the plane to Brazil.

The Irish boxers in action in the men's event, Brendan Irvine and David Oliver Joyce, have two opportunities to claim a place in Rio - by either winning their semi-finals or a third-place box-off - but the women's competition doesn't give the losing semi-finalists the luxury of another fight.

It was Taylor's first loss since a controversial defeat at a multi-nation tournament in Bulgaria in 2011.

Taylor was uncharacteristically on the back foot throughout the bout as Alexseevna took the opening round and didn't let up much thereafter, eventually winning a unanimous decision.

Taylor lost 39-37 on all three of the judges cards, and by the time the fourth and final round arrived, she needed a stoppage or a knockdown to win the fight.

No Irish athlete has been as dominant as Taylor since her first major medal in 2005 - which makes her defeat jar even more.

To date, Taylor has won an Olympic gold, five world championships and six European championships.

Irish Independent

Irish Independent

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