Ireland’s Katie Taylor won boxing gold at the London Games on Thursday,capping a scintillating career that delivered four world titles and saw her lead the charge for the inclusion of the women’s event at the Olympics.
Taylor,the overwhelming favourite for lightweight gold,beat Russia’s Sofya Ochigava 10-8 in front of an arena packed once again with travelling Irish fans desperate for their first gold of the Games.
In a rematch of this year’s world championship final,Taylor started cagier that in previous fights,catching Ochigava with two big right hooks but taking a left square on to leave the scores tied after one round.
The caution continued in the second as Taylor fell a point behind,the Russian catching her with another couple of smart lefts but Taylor owned the third round,catching the Russian enough times to open up a two-point lead.
She hung on in a last round that was tied and looked visibly nervous as she awaited the decision before going to her corner to hug her coach and father Peter and running around the ring with an Irish flag.
Exiting the arena close to tears,she hugged former world professional Irish champion Barry McGuigan who told a courtside reporter that it was 20 years to the day since Ireland won its last boxing gold,Michael Carruth’s in Barcelona.
Losing semi-finalists Mavzuna Chorieva of Tajikistan and Brazilian Adriana Araujo took bronze.
Earlier Britain’s Nicola Adams won the first women’s Olympic gold,beating three-times world champion Ren Cancan from China in the flyweight category.