Taylor gives Ireland the win it craved


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The Independent Online

It was inevitable, it was truly emotional and after four rounds Katie Taylor, the boxing queen of Ireland, won the gold medal she has deserved for so long.

In the lightweight final, a tense and scrappy mess of a fight broke out with Russia's Sofia Ochigava. However, the action in the ring at the ExCeL was just part of Taylor's stunning tale of extraordinary brilliance and her position as the sport's greatest female fighter.

It ended with a score of 10-8 and Taylor's smile will remain a memory long after the stands have been dismantled.

The pair were fixed at three wins for Taylor and one for Ochigava going into yesterday's final; Taylor was always a step and a punch in front yesterday.

"I had to stay in control and not panic when I went down after two rounds," said Taylor after celebrating her win with the crowds at the ExCeL. "I could hear the noise and I just knew I had to stay cool and give everybody what they wanted. "

Taylor adds the Olympic gold to her tally of four World Championships and five European Championships, which partially explains her standing in Ireland, where her reception whenever she is introduced at public events is always the loudest and the longest.

"I have dreamt of this moment all of my life and it is even better," added Taylor, who carried the flag at the opening ceremony and was also part of the International Olympic Committee's video at the same ceremony. "I hope that this win can inspire people like Michael Carruth's win did for me in 1992. The country stopped for that fight." Well, in Ireland yesterday they stopped to watch Taylor win and it seems they will stop again to welcome her back to Dublin and that party might take a serious toll.

It was a great day for Olympic boxing yesterday with Taylor, Nicola Adams and the once-mighty United States finally winning a gold at middleweight with Claressa Shields, who, at just 17 years and 145 days, is the second-youngest Olympic boxing gold medal winner ever. Not a bad start for the woman.