THE UNDIS­PUTED CHAM­PION OF THE WORLD

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT - BREN­DAN LAWRENCE Sports Editor

THE box­ing queen of the world jet­ted back into Dublin on Tuesday morn­ing to a huge wel­come from sup­port­ers fol­low­ing her all-out war with and con­tro­ver­sial vic­tory over Delfine Per­soon in Madi­son Square Gar­den on Satur­day night.

Box­ing fans watched in ut­ter awe as the bru­tal bat­tle un­folded at the his­toric New York venue as the Bel­gian po­lice­women un­leashed a fever­ish and in­spired per­for­mance that left many be­liev­ing that the judges had scored the con­test wrong.

How­ever, for ev­ery cynic there are plenty more box­ing en­thu­si­asts who be­lieve that Katie’s class and her pure box­ing class was what even­tu­ally won her the fight after 10 of the most har­row­ing rounds of women’s box­ing ever wit­nessed.

Rau­cous cheers rang out in Ter­mi­nal 2 as the 32-year-old Bray na­tive walked through ar­rivals to meet the large crowd that had gath­ered to wel­come home the Wick­low won­der who is still bear­ing the wounds and marks from the seis­mic schemoz­zle.

Air­port se­cu­rity had to hold back the fren­zied crowds, but Tay­lor was none-the-less happy to spend up to 30 min­utes tak­ing pic­tures and sign­ing au­to­graphs.

‘I feel a lot bet­ter than I look right now, but it’s great to be home,’ said Katie.

‘I haven’t been home in months so it’s great to be on Ir­ish soil again and to see all the sup­port­ers who came out here to­day – it’s ab­so­lutely phe­nom­e­nal.

‘I think the best part of this is see­ing so many fe­male box­ers from box­ing club all over the coun­try back me ev­ery step of the way.”

Al­though her op­po­nent has con­firmed she will lodge an of­fi­cial com­plaint fol­low­ing her de­feat, Tay­lor said that she was con­fi­dent with her win, but is still happy to fight Per­soon in a re­match.

‘I didn’t have any doubts that I landed it,” she said.

‘It was a very close fight with a great cham­pion and that’s what hap­pens when the best fights the best. It was an ab­so­lute bat­tle and thank­fully I came out vic­to­ri­ous.

‘A re­match is def­i­nitely on the table, which it’s go­ing to be great .... I would ab­so­lutely love a re­match.’

Talk of a statue be­ing erected in Tay­lor’s hon­our has sur­faced this week with RTE cam­eras ar­riv­ing in Bray to get the thoughts of lo­cals in a slightly bizarre vox pop that went out on the na­tional broad­caster. A mo­tion will be tabled in Wick­low County Coun­cil this Fri­day to have a statue erected in Tay­lor’s hon­our.

How­ever, the Olympic gold medal­list ques­tioned if stat­ues were only meant to be erected for peo­ple who are dead.

‘I’m not sure how I feel about hav­ing a statue, but I’m just so grate­ful from all the sup­port I’ve re­ceived from the whole coun­try.

‘The one piece of ad­vice I’d give any­one is if you’re pas­sion­ate about some­thing just go for it with all your heart. “Any­thing is pos­si­ble if you work hard for it,’ she said.

Asked, what the next few weeks will have in store for her, Tay­lor said she’s go­ing to put her feet up and spend time with her neph­ews and nieces.

‘I’ve been in Con­necti­cut train­ing for the last six months so for the next cou­ple of weeks I’m just go­ing to have fam­ily time and re­cover.’

Sports Min­is­ter Shane Ross who hosted the air­port re­cep­tion he was de­lighted to wel­come Tay­lor back as the undis­puted world cham­pion.

‘On be­half of the Ir­ish gov­ern­ment we’re re­ally de­lighted to wel­come Katie back here to­day as the undis­puted world cham­pion,’ he said.

‘She has be­come an icon for Ir­ish peo­ple and we’re so hon­oured by what she did on Satur­day night. I hope she has a good rest now, but she’s done Ire­land so proud now,’ he said.

The Min­is­ter added that Tay­lor was of­fered a civic re­cep­tion but said it’s com­pletely up to her whether she wants it or not.

civic re­cep­tion or not, Katie Tay­lor has ce­mented her place in the his­tory of box­ing for­ever more thanks to her hero­ics in New York.

Along with the WBA, IBF, WBO belts she claimed over the last 20 months, she has now added WBC and the spe­cially com­mis­sioned Ring belt to her col­lec­tion mak­ing her only the sev­enth boxer to hold all belts si­mul­ta­ne­ously since the four-belt World ti­tle era was ush­ered in.

‘It is very, very spe­cial. I made his­tory tonight. Ever since I turned pro it was al­ways my goal to get these fight belts,’ said Katie after the fight.

‘It is in­cred­i­ble ac­tu­ally look­ing at these five belts. This is what I dreamed for. This is what I trained for. I am ab­so­lutely de­lighted. It was a very close fight. We knew it would be a close fight. That’s what hap­pens when the best fights the best. There has to be a win­ner and a loser.’

Even at Dublin Air­port on Tue­say morn­ing, Katie’s face still bore the marks of the hec­tic bat­tle with the Bel­gian brawler.

But Katie still be­lieves that she has the best job in the world.

‘My am­bi­tion will be as strong as ever def­i­nitely. I am only get­ting started. The plan now is to be in­volved in big fights and de­fend all these ti­tles and to stay on top for a very long time.

‘I am def­i­nitely not slow­ing down yet. I still have as much pas­sion as ever for the sport and I ac­tu­ally love what I do.

‘This is a dream job for me to be wak­ing up ev­ery sin­gle day and train­ing ev­ery sin­gle day and get­ting ready for these big fights. I’m re­ally so grate­ful to have this life,’ she added.

Tay­lor fully ex­pected the war she got when she stepped through the ring.

“Noth­ing sur­prised me in there. I had pre­pared for that kind of fight. There was noth­ing new in there. She was strong and awk­ward. She kept com­ing for the ten rounds. I knew it was go­ing to be that kind of fight. I knew I was go­ing to be in the trenches.’

WAR­RIOR: Katie Tay­lor salutes the crowd after her epic and con­tro­ver­sial vic­tory in New York on Satur­day night. Katie lands a solid left on the jaw of Del­phin Per­soon.

Katie cele­br­rates with her mother Brid­get and sis­ter Sarah.

Katie Tay­lor and Delfine Per­soon dur­ing their Undis­puted Fe­male World Light­weight Cham­pi­onship fight in New York.

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