Katie Taylor has been knocked out of the Olympics in her opening bout.
Opening today’s session at the Riocentro, the Bray lightweight narrowly lost to Finland’s Mira Potkonen to see her Olympic defence end at the first hurdle.
Having been given a bye to the quarter finals, Taylor would have been guaranteed a much-needed bronze medal, but was agonisingly denied on yet another judges’s preference decision.
Potkonen recently won World Championships bronze and was no easy first opponent for Taylor – and the Irishwoman struggled with the Finn’s strong and aggressive style.
The 2012 defending Olympic champion began tentatively, shading a close range-finding opening round on two cards.
The second stanza saw Taylor attempt to play bull to Potkonen’s matador for the majority of another close round, but the aggressive Finn was awarded the round on all three cards following some big right hands to gain the upper hand.
Taylor was greatly improved in the third, catching Potkonen at will every time the Scandinavian came in, but surprisingly took the round on just two cards and was still trailing on two cards entering the final round.
A tired-looking Taylor was the busier in a very close final round as Potkonen stood off for the first time in the bout.
The result in huge doubt, there was a long wait for the decision as it later emerged that the Venezuelan judge had scored the bout a draw and needed to choose a winner. In the end he sided against Taylor, handing her a devastating 39-37, 37-39, 38-38* split decision loss.
Many had Taylor winning three rounds, the first, third, and fourth, but both the opening and closing rounds were real tight affairs and Taylor was undeniably well below her best for the majority of the fight in what was a hugely disappointing loss.