Irish gold medal prospect Katie Taylor insists she is ready for anything at the London Olympics as her father advised her to quit boxing in return for a normal life after the Games.
Taylor is currently in an Italian training camp with the Irish boxing team before they move to their London base next week.
She has kept a low profile in the build-up to the Olympics, shunning a media send-off for the team last week when she opted instead to release a statement to the press.
Taylor said, “My training commitments are more demanding than ever and every session is crucial at this stage of preparation.
“For me it has been a lifelong ambition to represent my country in the Olympic Games, so I want to enjoy the privilege and take it all in. I am aware of the expectation that is on me, but nobody expects more of me than myself.”
Ireland head coach Billy Walsh has backed Taylor’s preparations and approach.
Walsh said, “This is the way Katie has managed it for a number of years. She shuts herself away from the pressure and she deals with it pretty well.
“Katie is the flagship of the women’s sport and one of the main reasons it got into the Games. Other countries are chasing her and trying to find ways to beat her.
“Without improvement they would be catching up on her, but Katie continues to improve. She is only 26 and time is still on her side.”
Katie’s dad Peter, her trainer, has urged his daughter to consider a life away from boxing after the Olympics. He told the Irish Sun, “I’d like to see her, whatever happens, retire.
“It is hard. She’s sparring with the lads every week and she has no kind of life outside boxing. But that’s what I’d like to see, what Katie would like to do might be different and whatever she wants, we’ll back her 100%.
“It is a privileged life. She loves boxing and the training, she’s getting paid for it. But it is so physical, it is difficult what she’s doing. You don’t play boxing -- you play football, you play tennis.
“Boxing is a little bit different. There’s a lot of punishment over the years and maybe I want her to retire because it’s stressful for me!”
Peter also revealed his daughter, an Irish international, could return to soccer if she quits the ring.
He added, “She’d love to play soccer again. She hasn’t played for three or four years I think. It was one of the sacrifices she had to make for the Olympic Games because there was too much risk of injury.”
Peter also revealed that qualifying for the Olympics at the World Championships in China last May was potentially more demanding than actually going to London.
He said, “That was everything for her, because everyone just thought it was a shoo-in for her to be in the Olympics.
“But it was never going to be a shoo-in because you still have to get in there and qualify and you don’t know what’s going to happen on the day as well.
“There was huge pressure on her. When she qualified you could see the pressure release valve was opened up and she was able to relax a little bit then.
“She’s so looking forward to going over to the Olympic Games now. People keep saying about the pressure but it’s no pressure, it’s a privilege to be going over.
“It’s pressure to have to wake up every day and feed your family and she’s going over to represent the country. So what a privilege.”
In other boxing news, Limerick’s Willie Casey won his WBO Inter Continental title fight against England’s Jason Booth in Sunderland on Sunday.
And Cork’s Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan is the new WBO International Middleweight champion.