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Katie Taylor wins gold for Ireland Photo by: Reuters

Sparring with men helped Katie Taylor win gold, says fellow Olympian

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Katie Taylor wins gold for Ireland Photo by: Reuters

A sparring partner of Katie Taylor has said part of her success is down to boxing with men, as there are few women who can match the Olympian’s strength.

Taylor, a Wicklow native, made history on Thursday when she won gold for Ireland in the lightweight boxing final, in the first Irish victory of the 2012 games.

The 26-year-old world champion gained victory against Russia’s Sofya Ochivaga, amid a rapturous crowd of screaming Irish fans at the London’s ExCeL Arena.

Adam Nolan, a fellow boxer and Irish Olympian, who was knocked out of the games last weekend, said boxing against men has helped the Bray woman develop her technique.

“I think she has been sparring with men since she was about 14 or 15 years of age,” Nolan, who was once trained by Pater Taylor, the star’s father and coach, told the Evening Herald.

“The likes of Michael Conlon, Paddy Barnes, benefited from it as much as she has.” He added.

In the stadium for Taylor’s fights, Nolan described the atmosphere as electric.

“A lot more Irish came over for the last match. It was a packed house,” he said.

Speaking after the fight on Thursday, Taylor said after the final bell rung out, she still was not sure if she had won.

"I didn't know what way the scoreline went," she told the Irish state broadcaster, RTE. "It was such as close contest really, it could have went either way."

Paying tribute to the boxing sensation Irish President Michael D Higgins said: "She truly deserves this historic and hard earned victory; it is a just reward for her dedication and commitment over the years.”
 

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