Charting Katie Taylor’s checkered 2016 and her rise to the professional ranks

A difficult year for the Irishwoman ended on a high note

Charting Katie Taylor’s checkered 2016 and her rise to the professional ranks

Katie Taylor in action against Karina Kopinska. Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Ireland’s golden girl endured a topsy-turvy 2016 as she rallied from the disappointment of three upset defeats in Turkey, the World Championships and the Olympics to kick-start her professional career.

In her prime as an amateur, she was untouchable. Five consecutive world championships equalled Mary Kom’s record but her crowning glory was becoming 2012 Olympic women’s lightweight champion after campaigning for years for women to be allowed join their male counterparts in the Olympic boxing ring.

2016 brought personal problems for the Bray native which also saw a change in her corner and there is no denying this affected her adversely in the beginning. 

A loss to Yana Alekseevna at an Olympic qualifying tournament in Turkey was viewed by many as a surprise but nothing to worry about. Alekssevna is a talented fighter and had given Taylor problems in the past. 

Ireland's Katie Taylor (red) in action against Azerbaijan's Yana Alexseevna. Image: ©INPHO/Ilyas Gun

However, her loss to France’s Estelle Mossely at the semi-final of the World championships indicated something wasn’t right. It was a close fight and did officially end as a draw on the scorecards.

Taylor was ahead going into the final round but the judges awarded Mossely the decision. Despite the loss, Taylor could console herself with Olympic qualification and a bronze medal.

Katie Taylor vs Estelle Mossely. France's Estelle Mossely is declared the winner. Image: ©INPHO/AIBA

And so to the Olympics, a bad week for Irish boxing was compounded when Taylor crashed out in her first fight at the quarter final stage against Mira Potkonen. The fight ended in a split draw but the judges went for the Finn. 

The country was in tears as we watched her heartbroken interview afterwards. We knew it, she knew and she said: "I should be beating these girls."

Ireland's Katie Taylor dejected after losing her fight. Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Funnily enough, the scandal and circus which surrounded Pat Hickey at the event took much of the focus off our athletes. Well that and the reality TV superstars Cork’s silver medal winning O’Donovan brothers turned out to be.

Taylor enlisted the help of boxing manager/promoter Brian Peters as she looked to turn pro. They met with Eddie Hearn of Matchroom promotions and signed on the dotted line after taking some time to consider his proposal.

Hearn works closely with Sky Sports and the station themselves had previously supported Taylor as one of their sporting ambassadors, so the match fit.

Taylor began training with Ross Enamait in the United States and it was a change she clearly needed. 

In her first fight she took on journey-woman Karina Kopiska in the city of her greatest triumph, London.

Kopinska had been around for a while but with a record of 7-14-3 going into the bout, she was never going to trouble Taylor.

Katie Taylor in action against Karina Kopinska. Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

The Irishwoman made an easy transition into the paid ranks and after three rounds of a lop-sided beating, the referee jumped in to save the Pole.

Taylor wouldn't have to wait long for her second punch-up as a professional and took on Viviene Obenhauf on Anthony Joshua's undercard at the start of December.

Obenhauf was a considerable step up in class and went into the bout having won nine of her ten pro fights.

Katie Taylor (right) celebrates beating Viviane Obenauf. Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie

Taylor again made easy work of her opponent landing her patented left-hook at will. The bout went the scheduled six rounds but Taylor coasted to a unanimous six round decision.

Taylor turned around 2016 so much so that she can look forward to 2017 with some huge events on the horizon. Eddie Hearn revealed he is in discussions to have her fight on middleweight knockout king Gennady "GGG" Golovkin's title defence in March at Madison Square Garden.

Her appearance is yet to be confirmed but you can be sure she has her eye on Anthony Joshua's title defence with Wladimir Klitschko in April at Wembley stadium.

However poorly 2016 began for Taylor, it certainly ended well. Roll on 2017.  

Katie Taylor celebrates beating Viviane Obenauf. Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie