Katie Taylor: 'Absolutely disgraceful' that boxing's Olympic future is at risk

Photo of Katie Taylor celebrating winning Olympic gold at London 2012 with the quote: "All I ever dreamed of as a child was to become an Olympic champion
Katie Taylor won lightweight gold for Ireland at London 2012

Katie Taylor says the prospect of amateur boxing being thrown out of the Olympics is "absolutely disgraceful".

The International Olympic Committee has suspended amateur boxing's governing body the AIBA due to issues over its finance and governance.

A task force led by Morinari Watanabe, International Gymnastics Federation president, will organise boxing events at Tokyo 2020 in its place.

"Boxing needs amateur boxing," said Olympic 2012 gold medallist Taylor.

IOC president Thomas Bach has said "there needs to be further fundamental change" by the AIBA before its suspension - which began in December 2017 - can be lifted.

Speaking to the 5 live Boxing podcast with Mike Costello & Steve Bunce, Taylor said: "To be at a point where it is close to being thrown out of the Olympics is absolutely disgraceful.

"It's a great place for people to develop your skills and to step into the professional game after being in the Olympics.

"All I ever dreamed of as a child was to become an Olympic champion, the thought of people not having that dream anymore is crazy to me.

"I worked so hard myself to get women's boxing involved in the Olympic Games.

"Boxing definitely needs amateur boxing and definitely needs amateur boxing in the Olympic Games. It would be huge blow to the sport if that was thrown out."

Taylor ready for step-up

Katie Taylor and Christina Linardatou at a news conference promoting their fight
Katie Taylor says her headline bout with Christina Linardatou in Manchester in November will be a "milestone moment" in her career.

Taylor is bidding to become a two-weight world champion when she steps up to super lightweight to take on Greek WBO title holder Christina Linardatou in Manchester on 2 November.

The 33-year-old will top the bill ahead of hometown fighter Anthony Crolla, who will be competing in his farewell fight at Manchester Arena.

"The opportunity just came about and I took it with both arms," said Taylor, who turned professional four years after her gold medal success at London 2012. "I do make the lightweight division very, very comfortably and I will be hopping up and down the weights over the next few months.

"I have the chance to become a two-weight world champion. It's a new challenge for me, and the chance to headline a show in Manchester Arena is absolutely huge for my career. It is a milestone moment for me.

"It's going to be a sad day for Anthony Crolla, what an ambassador he has been for the sport and what amazing career he has had.

"I feel a bit unworthy really topping the bill ahead of him but it's an absolute privilege to be part of his farewell.

"But there is unfinished business in the lightweight division as well and I plan on going back down and finishing that business."

Persoon rematch on the cards

Katie Taylor fighting Delfine Persoon with quote: "A rematch has to happen in the next 12 months that's for sure. It's a fight I want to happen."
Katie Taylor (right) beat Delfine Persoon in a thrilling contest on 1 June

That unfinished business is likely to include a rematch with Delfine Persoon, who Taylor beat courtesy of a narrow points decision in June to add her opponent's WBC belt to her WBA, WBO and IBF titles.

The fight was controversial, with many of the ringside media disagreeing with the judges and thinking the Belgian had done enough to claim a shock win at New York's Madison Square Garden.

Taylor says she has a point to prove and is targeting a rematch within the next year.

"The fight could have gone either way. It was an absolute all-out war and I'm so glad the decision went my way," she said.

"It was a back-and-forth battle but when the rematch happens I look forward to beating her more convincingly and setting the story straight.

"I think I love a tear up a bit too much. I get drawn into a fight when I should box on the outside. That's just the nature of a fighter I guess. It does make for an exciting fight but you don't want to be involved in too many of them.

"A rematch has to happen in the next 12 months that's for sure. It's a fight I want to happen. I'm in a great position as there are so many big fights available to me.

"But first and foremost I have to get by Christina on 2 November and my focus is completely on her right now."

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