SportBoxing

Katie Taylor cruises in Baku to guarantee medal

BoxingBy Sean McGoldrick
Katie Taylor's arm is raised after the bout
Katie Taylor's arm is raised after the bout

Olympic champion Katie Taylor has cruised into the semi-final of the lightweight division at the inaugural European Games in Baku with an emphatic 3-0 win over 18 year Swedish opponent Ida Lundblad.

Olympic champion Katie Taylor has cruised into the semi-final of the lightweight division at the inaugural European Games in Baku with an emphatic 3-0 win over 18 year Swedish opponent Ida Lundblad.

Chants of 'Katie, Katie Katie' rang out in the Crystal Hall as Katie collected her 18th championship medal. At worst she is now guaranteed a bronze medal, though she is the hottest of favourites to collect the gold.

Lundblad lacked nothing in bravery or effort but the Bray pugilist simply had too much class for her. She caught her repeatedly with clean shots and her nimble footwork kept her out of range when the Swedish girl came forward.

All three judges gave all four rounds to the five time World champion – one actually gave her the last two rounds on a 10-8 margin to give her overall victory on a 40-36; 40-36; 40-34 score.

Taylor now faces Ukrainian born southpaw Yana Alekseevna in Friday’s semi-final.  

Alekseevna now represents Azerbaijan in international boxing. The pair clashed in the gold medal fight at last year’s World championships in South Korea.

In a tactical fight Katie won to secure her fifth World title but Alekseevna, who is two inches taller than Katie, is a classy opponent.

Within 15 minutes of Taylor’s success, Portlaoise middleweight Michael O’Reilly had also claimed a bronze medal.

He outclassed  Aljaz Venko from Slovenia to secure a unanimous 3-0 win (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) to move on to Friday’s semi-finals where he meets a Russian opponent.

The victories fashioned by Taylor and O’Reilly means that Ireland has now won four medals at the Games – all in boxing. Sean McComb and Brendan Irvine secured bronze medals earlier. 

The latter faces a Ukrainian opponent in today’s light flyweight semi-final. 

There was no joy, however, for heavyweight Darren O’Neill who lost on a split decision to Ukrainian Gevorg Manukan.

The Kilkenny native lost the first round on all three judges’ cards; but won round two on two of the three cards to put himself back into contention.

The two boxers gave it everything in the final stanza and two of the judges gave O’Neill the round but he still lost 29-28; 29-28; 28-29