By Sean Creedon
Olympic champion Katie Taylor will make her long-awaited return to the ring at the National Stadium in Dublin on Friday, Feb. 22, two days before her sell-out bout at the Bord Gáis Theatre. The Bray boxer is scheduled to meet Poland’s Karolia Graczyk over four rounds at the Stadium on the final night of the Irish championships. No opponent had been entered for Taylor in the 60kg division, so this exhibition bout was arranged.
And then she will meet German fighter Maike Kleuners at Bord Gáis Theatre on Sunday, Feb. 24. Her second fight at the Dublin docklands venue will be against Yuli Tsiplakova, a Ukrainian, on Friday, March 22. But before the latter bout, Taylor will box in two official international matches between Ireland and Russia March 17 and 18. That means the Bray boxer will have three fights in just six days between St Patrick’s Day and March 22. But that shouldn’t present any problems as the 26-year-old fought her three Olympic fights over just four days of competition in London last summer.
Meanwhile the European women’s championships which were penciled in for Ireland in 2013 will not now be staged this year. The world body only recently informed the Irish boxing authorities that they would prefer if the European women’s championships be held in the same year as the World championships which will be staged in Canada next year. Naturally Pete Taylor, Katie’s coach and father, is not happy.
He said: ‘‘It has been a wasted five months of our lives, my daughter’s life. Katie could have taken all those months off after the Olympics and refreshed her body and then come back into a program for Rio. She could have gone off and relaxed or played football.’’