Saturday is a rematch of the fight that birthed the current extremely healthy women’s fight scene suggests Katie Taylor.
The former amateur turned pro trailblazer believes her Olympic meeting with Natasha Jonas was a pivotal moment in the sport, as it was probably the first time the whole world got to see what women boxers were capable of producing.
Taylor and Jonas produced a fight of the tournament contender as early as day two of the boxing schedule producing a skill and action-packed innings, that made the outside world sit up and take note.
The pair, who renew acquaintances in Manchester on a PPV card this Saturday night, also proved women’s boxing was fan-friendly and could create an atmosphere, particularly when you factor in Taylor’s 26-15 quarter-final win played out in front of a crowd generating a record 113.7 decibels of noise at London’s ExCel Arena.
In that regard, the Irish sporting hero believes it was a pivotal point.
“It was the first time that people saw women’s boxing on the global stage, and many people feel that the fight between me and Tasha was the fight of the tournament, the atmosphere was electric and we showed everything in that fight, the skill, the heart,” said Taylor when speaking to the media on Tuesday.
“The Irish fans brought up the decibels in the arena that day and it was a great week for me to achieve a childhood dream.”
“I had no idea that nine years later we’d meet again, but here we are. We had a great history together as amateurs and now we’re facing each other in the pro ring for the very first time so it’s very exciting.”
It’s widely accepted Taylor was responsible for ensuring female boxing became an Olympic sport and it’s believed she has transformed the pro game in the five years she has been involved.
It’s something the Bray native is proud of and she is happy with the vastly improved state of the female side of the sweet science.
“The bar has been broken. People are really excited now about female fights and there is always a big female fight on every card now. They are serious fights that people are excited about.”
There was female punchers before Taylor, fighters who inspired her and she is always keen to praise them and their impact.
However, while they inspired young fighters in their day they haven’t inspired the kind of mass landscape change Taylor has, although undisputed world champion would be too humble to admit as much.
“This generation of fighters have achieved a lot, but we’re all still standing on the shoulders of many great fighters, the likes of Deirdre Gogarty, who is a hero of mine, Jane Couch, Laila Ali, and others who have paved the way for us.
“So I just want to continue to tear down the barriers and make it easier for the next generation of fighters.”
Reflecting on the Olympic clash Jonas and the atmosphere generated that summer’s day Jonas said: “It was something like the sound of a jet engine. I didn’t come out with an Olympic medal but I came out with an Olympic record which is weird.
“Everyone only ever talks about the Olympics but she’s actually beaten me three times. I think she beat me 5-3 in a tournament a month before the Olympics and she’d beaten me before, but I can’t remember that score.”
Photo Credit Mark Robinson Matchroom