Katie Taylor feeling “less pressure” ahead of today’s medal bout

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The Rio Olympics haven’t exactly gone as people would have envisioned for the Irish boxing team.

Just two of the eight-person squad remain, with Mick Conlan and Katie Taylor now bout one win away from medals and a restoration of some pride.

Therefore it would be understandable if pressure had start to set in, however that is not the case for Bray lightweight Taylor.

Indeed the 19 time major medal winner revealed that she felt more pressure at the London Olympics in 2012. At women’s boxing’s inaugural appearance at the Games, which was somewhat precipitated by the Wicklow woman, Taylor claimed gold after a nervy final with Russia’s Sofia Ochigava.

This time round, especially after two losses this year to Yana Alekseevna and Estelle Mossely, Taylor feels unburdened by pressure and explained that “I feel less pressure now. People aren’t expecting me to walk through the competition.”

However, the 30 year old insists that “those losses haven’t changed my mindset.”

“After I came back from London with a gold medal, my focus straight away was to defend it four years on.”

“To stand on top of the podium in front of every other nation would be a privilege and an honour.”

Taylor gets he campaign underway today in Brazil at 15:00 (Irish time) against experienced Finn Mira Potkonen – who she has beaten thrice before.

In the previous round, for which Taylor received a bye, Potkonen defeated home favourite Adriana Araujo.

This afternoon’s bronze medal guaranteeing bout at the Riocentro will see Katie Taylor attempt to become only the second Irish boxer, after Paddy Barnes, to become a two-time Olympic medalist. Belfast bantam Mick Conlan will attempt to join the club tomorrow in his quarter final.

If Taylor is victorious today she will face the winner of the Last Eight clash between Azeri rival Alexseevna and China’s Yin Junhua.

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie