Ireland’s favorite sportsperson Katie Taylor talks about training, the new documentary "Katie", and feeling at home among her US fans.
Katie Taylor is ready for her big match in Boston this Saturday, Oct 20, against Cindy Serrano where she’ll fight to defend her World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation World lightweight titles.
“People are going to see the best of me in this fight,” said a calm yet confident Taylor in an interview with IrishCentral.
“I’ve been training really hard for the last few months, getting plenty of sparring in. I’m feeling stronger than ever.”
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Despite having her head down for training stateside, Taylor is still making headlines. The Irish boxer was recently named Ireland’ #1 sports personality, as well as the overseas boxer of the year.
“It doesn’t affect my mindset at all … it’s lovely to hear those things, but I’m just over here, I’m focused on my fight and my training as usual.”
Similarly, the press surrounding her new documentary "Katie", which won Best Irish Documentary at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh, isn’t getting the boxer flustered. After receiving strong reviews, the documentary will head for Irish movie theaters on Oct 26.
“I’m excited to hear what people think of it,” says Taylor of the Ross Whitaker-directed flick, though she admits she herself hasn't even seen it yet.
“I’ll probably never watch it to be honest; I hate watching myself on TV.”
Headlining TD Garden and a nationwide movie release all within a week? No one could blame Taylor, a relatively private person, for feeling some pressure.
“I feel like I’m very well protected,” she says.
A quiet idol
Whether or not she’s particularly fond of the limelight, Taylor finds herself firmly planted there.
Over her career, Taylor has won five consecutive gold medals at the Women's World Championships, six gold medals at the European Championships, and five gold medals at the European Union Championships.
After rising through the ranks of a typically male-dominated sport, she became the main catalyst to include women’s boxing in the Olympic games. As if that wasn’t enough, she brought home the Olympic gold for Ireland in 2012, the first time women’s boxing was included.
Four years later, however, she suffered a brutally early exit at the Rio Olympics 2016.
Later that year, she turned professional and has gone undefeated as a pro ever since. She looks to remain undefeated this Saturday when she battles Cindy Serrano to defend her WBA and IBF female lightweight titles.
“I think it’s important, whether it’s male-dominated or not, it’s important to find something you’re passionate about and go for it with all your heart,” said Taylor.
“Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Nothing is impossible when you’re willing to work hard. Just go for it and enjoy the journey.”
A Boston Irish welcome
Taylor is clearly excited for the next step in her journey, Boston.
“I know TD Garden is a huge venue over here,” she says, “I can’t wait to fight there and feel the atmosphere.”
Of course, what’s a star Irish athlete without their loyal army behind them? With Boston remaining an enclave for Irish and Irish American communities stateside, there should be no shortage of Irish support at TD Garden on Saturday.
“Everyone wants to be from Ireland over here,” says Taylor with a chuckle.
“There’s going to be a huge Irish contingent there, I hope. It’s going to be like a home from home for me.”
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Indeed, it will feel a bit more like home when Taylor's family arrives from Ireland for the occasion. And with other Irish boxers James Tennyson, Niall Kennedy, and Sean McComb also slated for Saturday, there's no doubt a few tricolors will be waving in the crowds at TD Garden.
“I love it actually; the support I’ve gotten over here has been incredible.” She says Saturday is “going to be a great, great night.”
Much unlike her other famous Irish fighter Conor McGregor, Taylor plans to keep it relatively low-key after her fight.
“I’m not really into the nightlife too much, I live a really boring life actually,” she says, again with a chuckle. One of Boston’s famous duck boat tours may be in order for the Wicklow woman.
“I’ll probably just relax for a few days after the fight, but I don’t really give myself too many days off. I’m hoping to be back in the ring quite soon after.”
Taylor says that after a return to the ring in “December sometime,” she’ll be heading home to Ireland for a few weeks.
“I haven’t actually been home in the last few months, so I can’t wait to get home and catch up with friends and family.”
“I think that’s the hardest part about being over here [in the US], just missing my friends and family from time to time.”
Hopefully, Saturday will provide Ireland's favorite sportsperson with a solid dose of home, as well as another win for her impressive career.