Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Taylor enjoys winning return

Katie Taylor made a winning return in Dublin

Olympic champion Katie Taylor marked her return to action for the first time since her gold medal triumph last August with a 28-5 win over Poland's Karolina Graczyk at the National Stadium in Dublin on Friday night.

Taylor received a raucous reception at the purpose-built boxing arena which was filled to capacity on a night on which 15 national men's and women's champions were also crowned.

It was the kind of low-key comeback favoured by Taylor, who has admitted struggling with the fame foisted upon her since she underlined her status as her nation's favourite sports star with victory in London.

Taylor was caught by a couple of counters in the second round but soon found her range with her clubbing left hand, and seemed to relish the chance to work off the rust that had gathered from her six months out of the ring.

Another booming left at the start of the third prompted the referee's intervention to issue Graczyk a standing eight count, and Taylor's relentless accuracy and range of shots soon had the referee interrupting again.

The Pole's sparse shots seemed almost feeble in response, with every Taylor strike jolting her opponent back, and Graczyk did admirably well to make it all the way to the final bell.

It was the start of a busy weekend for Taylor, who is scheduled to fight again in Dublin on Sunday as she builds up to her competitive return, which is likely to come at the EU Championships in Hungary in June.

Earlier, Olympic bronze medallist Michael Conlan claimed his third straight national title at flyweight, easing away for a comprehensive 20-9 win over Chris Phelan.

Beijing silver medallist Ken Egan announced his retirement after suffering his third straight finals defeat to Joe Ward at light-heavyweight, taking a standing count en route to a 25-5 defeat.

The 31-year-old Egan was bidding to become the first man to win 11 Irish senior titles and brought everything, but was simply outgunned by the sustained ferocity of an opponent 13 years his junior.

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