World champion Katie Taylor has thanked all her fans for their support in an exclusive interview.
World number one Katie Taylor has revealed that she deals with every competition in the same way; one fight at the time.
Taylor qualified for the 2012 Olympics and also claimed her fourth AIBA World lightweight title in-a-row in China earlier this month.
The victory was her 13th major international gold medal since 2005.
In an exclusive interview with www.aiba.org, Taylor, a two-time AIBA World female boxer of the year, reckons that the 2012 Olympic Games will have a huge impact on the popularity of women’s boxing.
Female pugilism will make its historic debut at the 30th Olympiad in three weight categories.
Taylor, Ceire Smith and Sinead Kavanagh represented Ireland at the 7th AIBA World Women’s Championships in Qinhuangdao, China.
Taylor, her Bray BC team-mate Adam Nolan, Darren O’Neill, Michael Conlan, John Joe Nevin and Paddy Barnes will line out for Ireland at the 2012 Olympics in London.
Katie Taylor’s exclusive interview with AIBA.
A four-time World Champion, how does it feel?
It feels amazing! It was a really special competition given that it was the only qualifier for the Olympic Games. It was great to qualify but it was also a fantastic feeling to retain my world title.
Tell us about the experience in Qinhuangdao and your relationship with the other competitors?
I am so focused during competition time that I often do not realise where I am. For me it was just another place and another competition. When I am in the zone, nothing else matters, I am purely concentrated on the job at hand. In retrospect, it was a remarkable experience for me personally. As far as the other competitors are concerned, we are all friends when the competition is over.
How has the reaction to your success been back in Ireland?
It has been pretty full on between press conferences and various media interviews, there has been so much attention lavished on me. I was paraded through my home town on an open top bus. The support of the Irish people has been great. Everyone I meet wishes me well, they are all excited about the Olympic Games being so close in London.
You took home the best boxer trophy from China, which is quite an achievement; do you think you have reached the peak of powers?
Taking that trophy proved that if you work hard you get results. However I always believe that there is still room for improvement, there is always things you can work on. I can still develop, get stronger, faster, I take nothing for granted. You must always strive to better yourself.
What boxers impressed you the most at the World Championships and why?
I was really impressed with the level of all of the boxers in China, it is great to see the improvements that have been made and how far the sport has come in such a short space of time. The girls have become physically stronger and more technical and tactically astute. I am sure that people will be blown away in London. I cannot however give you one boxer that really impressed me more that another.
You are now firm favourite for gold in London, how do you deal with the pressure?
It would be a bit foolish talking about medals for me now. There is pressure because in Ireland people know who I am and with my status comes expectations. I have a very specific mindset; I deal with every competition in the same way: one fight at a time.
Women’s boxing at the Olympic Games, what impact do you think this will have on the sport?
The Olympic Games will have a huge impact on the sport; there is absolutely no doubt about that. This is the biggest stage of all, the whole world will be watching and people will be amazed by the standard of women’s boxing. Boxing is the best sport in the world, the hardest; the training ensures boxers are amongst the fittest people on the planet. With women’s boxing making its debut in London, there will be a whole new generation of fans who will want to take part.
You are hugely dedicated athlete, what is it that boxing brings you that makes it so special?
Boxing defines who I am, it is hard to explain why it is so special and I do not know what I would do without the sport. There is something pure about it, training hard, being one on one in the ring.
Tell us about your training. How much do you do and how do your sessions break down?
I generally train twice a day, five times a week, depending on what phase of training I am in. Of course there is cardio work, then you work on technique and power, sparring, speed work. Mixing up the training ensures your body never gets used to what you do so you can push yourself harder each time you train.
Do you have any special diet tips?
I do not have a special or a magical ingredient. All I know is that you should eat a healthy and well balanced diet over five small meals a day. That is the foundation of an athlete’s training program.
Do you have any advice for the thousands of young boys and girls who wish to become World Champions just like you?
The main advice I can offer is plenty of hard work and dedication. The harder you work, the more results you will see. You get such a great feeling from boxing.
What is your motto?
God always gives me strength.