When you first meet Katie Taylor, what strikes you the most is her soft-spoken nature. While her chosen sport is combative by default, Katie is not quite the same. And yet you can easily sense the ambitious and aggressive spirit that sleeps within. In a sense, Katie is a walking collection of seeming contradictions. She reads Psalms 18 before every match. In fact, the entire psalm is embossed on her boxing robe, which she wears whenever she enters the ring. She is not exactly your stereotypical boxing champion.
When she was young, kids her age had boy bands on their bedroom walls. She was always going to be different; always going to be special, that with the fact that she hung pictures of Muhammed Ali on her walls. She would also often try to imitate boxers like Jack Johnson and Rocky Marciano as her form of sibling playtime.
Quite a Journey
When Taylor was younger, her soft-spoken personality was just as pronounced as it is today. She only had two ways to truly express herself: soccer and boxing. These were the ways in which she told the world of what was going on inside her. Her mother often playfully points out that, away from the soccer field or boxing ring, you could hardly get any words out of Katie.
Even with such few words, Katie was quite an aggressive and ambitious girl who fell in love with boxing at the age of 11. It happened as soon as she wore boxing gloves. It wasn’t the first time she was encountering boxing, though. Her brothers often put the gloves on and played around with them in the house, right from when Katie was 6 years old. Her father and brother were all boxers, so in a sense it wasn’t a surprise that she took after them and loved the sport as well.
That doesn’t mean that the road was easy. The sport has been dominated by men until recently in Ireland, and so it was extremely challenging for Katie, a woman, to get the opportunity to compete professionally.
She would often train with boys at the St. Fergal’s Boxing Club, her local club in Bray. However, when the boys went out to competitions, Katie was forced to stay at home. At the club, when she had her headgear on, some boys wouldn’t know that she was actually a girl, and called her Kay Taylor. It was only when she took her headgear off that they would realize the truth, much to their surprise. Sometimes she would use the same trick to find her way into competitions.
Beating the Odds
Taylor and her mother describe the estate where she grew up as one of the worst in Ireland. Boxing for her was a kind of escape. She didn’t have many female professional boxers to look up to, though Ireland’s first female boxer, Deirdre Gogarty, was perhaps her favourite. Gogarty, who was a native of Drogheda, was internationally recognized. However, she couldn’t fight in Ireland, which meant she had to leave the country in order to pursue her passion.
Taylor, on the other hand, kept pushing back home, and although she didn’t realize it at the time, her resilience in the face of adversity was changing the perspectives of people toward boxing. As her brothers and father coached her, her drive was starting to pay off.
Of course, Taylor also had school to think about, through excellent time management and a willingness to make sacrifices allowed her to juggle school and her passion. It is possible for you to do the same. For example, if you need help with your assignments so you can make more time for your sport, you can order assignment help for British students. That way, you can get more time to focus on the things that really matter to you.
At the age of 15, Taylor took part in the first official female boxing match in Ireland, at the National Stadium. It was 2001 and her opponent was Alanna Audley. The rest, as they say, is history.
What Does It Take?
After her first match, Taylor spent many years fighting in different rings around the world. She won many of her encounters. In fact, Taylor was not only good at boxing but also soccer, playing 11 times for the international Ireland team and even playing in qualifiers for the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup. She ended up focusing on boxing, however, because she wanted to win Olympic gold. She did, at the 2012 Olympics in London. She remembers the moment when she won the gold medal as the apex of her career as she not only won it for herself but for Ireland as well, since she was the country’s flag bearer at the Olympics.
Taylor had so much faith that she would win the medal that she began practicing how she would receive it long before she even took part in the competition. She started practicing when she was a youngster. And sure enough, that dream came true. It was the manifestation of a powerful childhood dream that she had never given up on.
Taylor credits her parents for the support they offered her in order for her to make it as a professional boxer. Her parents spent a lot of time driving their children to numerous sporting events. Sometimes they would drive them to different events and drive past each other. They were her greatest fans.
If you have a strong dream, just like Taylor, then you should borrow a leaf or two from her book and work at it. No matter what the challenges are, you should never give up. Such is life that, if you persist long and hard enough, and you are willing to pay the price, it has no choice but to give you what you want.
Robert Everett is a writer and editor who loves to write about sports, fitness, and personal improvement. He loves to encourage young sportsmen and women to pursue their goals and maintain their fitness for both mental and physical health. When he’s not writing, he’s at the local boxing club boxing away.