Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Taylor not taking Games for granted

Katie Taylor keeping low profile ahead of London Games

Irish boxing superstar Katie Taylor insists she is taking nothing for granted as she bids to further her extraordinary career with an Olympic title in London next month.

Taylor has holed herself away in training camp to prepare for the tournament, and her non-appearance at two organised press days raised fears the 26-year-old could be feeling the strain. But the four-time world champion, who is the best medal hope among a strong squad of six Ireland boxers heading to London, insists her preparations remain on track.

Taylor said: "My training commitments are more demanding than ever and every session is crucial at this stage of preparation. For me it has been a lifelong ambition to represent my country in the Olympic Games, so I want to enjoy the privilege and take it all in. I am aware of the expectation that is on me, but nobody expects more of me than myself."

And Ireland head coach Billy Walsh backed Taylor's decision to stay out of the limelight before the team jet off to their Olympic preparation camp in Italy on Friday.

Walsh said: "This is the way Katie has managed it for a number of years. She shuts herself away from the pressure and she deals with it pretty well.

"Katie is the flagship of the women's sport and one of the main reasons it got into the Games. Other countries are chasing her and trying to find ways to beat her. Without improvement they would be catching up on her, but Katie continues to improve. She is only 26 and time is still on her side."

Taylor is joined by Beijing bronze medallist Paddy Barnes, flyweight Michael Conlan, bantamweight John Joe Nevin, welterweight Adam Nolan and middleweight Darren O'Neill in Ireland's Games line-up.

Barnes has had to fight off injury and inconsistency to claim his Olympic place but expressed no fears about the fact he will go to the Games unseeded - meaning he could meet his 2008 conqueror Zou Shiming of China in his first fight.

Barnes said: "Seriously, I'd love to fight him again. The seedings don't mean a lot. I've been at the top for four years and I've beaten all these guys before."

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