By Jonny Stapleton
Katie Taylor has been over looked for the Irish Sports Council/RTE Sports Person of the Year Award, as once again the golf club proved mighty come award time.
Taylor was nominated for the fourth time in five years, but was beaten to the prestigious prize by Rory McIlroy, who emulated three time winner Harrington and recent award collector Greame McDowell’s sucess,- much to the frustration of Irish fight fans.
Taylor, who certainly has the respect of the British fight establishment and media having been handed a scholarship by Sky Sports, has completely dominated female amateur boxing for over five years.
She is the undisputed best in the world at her chosen sport and she represents the Irish people, Irish boxing and Irish women with pride and distinction on a global stage.
The fact she can boast 100 career amateur wins, three World titles and five European gold’s in such a short space of time, not only suggests she is one of our best boxers of all time, but is one of the countries greatest every athletes.
She is certainly the most consistent.
Granted eventual winner McIroy did impress the world with his major winning antics.
However he did not dominate his sport for the calendar year let alone the last five. What he did do is show brilliance in a sport sponsors love. It has to be taken into account he won more eye catching as well as media, ABC1 market and sponsorship friendly titles this year.
Taylor is pound for pound the greatest woman’s boxer on the planet and not just in 2011, but the years proceeding. Out of the thousands of sports this small country competes in Female Boxing is the only one we can proudly say we are the best in the world at, thanks to Taylor. Yet still we don’t even recognise the three time world champ as the stand out sports star of the year.
There are some theorists who suggest that it is female boxing and not Taylor that doesn’t have the judges respect. Some fight fans believe the majority understand Taylor is talented, but under estimate her ability because they have no faith in female boxing as a whole.
A point suggesting McIlroy or any sports person deserves the award ahead of a female boxer because they beat off more talented opposition could have a very slim chance of proving valid, but never in Taylor’s case.
If any of the judging panel did their research they would discover the lady trained by her father is an exceptional pugilist not just an exceptional female fighter. Taylor has been sparring with beautiful effect against the uglier of the sex since she was eight. The former Ireland international regularly spars and ’more than holds her own’ against the male high performance fighters. The same fighters, that have put Irish boxing on the map as a result of their brilliant displays in the World Series of Boxing and medal winning antics in European and World championships amongst others can at times struggle as much with Taylor as the tournament opposition she destroys.
After seeing Taylor spar what you could effectively label the best Irish amateur boxer of the year considering he won Boxer of the tournament in the National Senior Championships, Olympic hopeful Ross Hickey, former world champion, Barry McGuigan labelled the Wicklow warrior ’one of Ireland’s greatest fighters ever male or female’.
Thousands of pound went on Willie Casey foe Guillermo Rigondeaux ahead of their world title fight in March on the back of news Katie Taylor couldn’t land on the greatest amateur of all time. The school of taught being if Taylor couldn’t master the Cuban how would then European Champion Willie Casey have a hope!!
There are injustices in sport and it seems there are in injustices in sports awards too.
However, I wouldn’t get to disgruntled. I think RTE and the Sports Council believe Taylor will win Olympic Gold and would prefer to present her with the award this time next year.
But be warned if Taylor does win the gold, turns professional, tops sell out boxing bills and makes a TV impact on Sky-which is quiet possible considering they have a vested interest already- she will be on course to be crowned one of the most significant and greatest female athletes of all time.
If that is the case she could be on course to win more prestigious awards and if she wasn’t such a humble and nice person might return the blanking compliment on the award.