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Born on July 2, 1986 in Bray Co. Wicklow, world amateur boxing champion Katie Taylor has quickly become an Irish sports icon. Here is a quick rundown of some interesting facts about Ireland’s future Olympic medalist, who got her first pair of boxing gloves aged 10.
1. Boxing is in her blood. Her Leeds born father, Peter, who is her coach at St. Fergal's Boxing Club in Bray, was a 1986 Irish senior light heavyweight champion boxer. Her mother Bridget is a former boxing referee. She has two older brothers, Lee and Peter, and an older sister Sarah.
2. As as adult she began taking Gaelic classes. In an RTE interview on 'Miriam Meets' she explained: "I would love to be able to speak my own language and maybe have an interview in Irish maybe after my fights".
3. Taylor first made Irish boxing history aged 15 - on October 31 2001 in the first officially sanctioned women's bout ever held in Ireland. She fought 16-year-old Alanna Audley of Belfast at the National Stadium in Dublin, Taylor won over three 90-second rounds by 23-12.
4. Taylor made Irish boxing history again at age 17 in May 2005 when she became the first Irish woman to win a gold Medal at the Senior European Boxing Championships. She won the gold medal, defeating Eva Wahlström of Finland in the final of the 60 kg lightweight class.
5. Katie has won four consecutive AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships.
6. She was invited to the White House last March on St. Patrick's Day to meet President Obama and the First Lady. An event she later described as one of the biggest honors of her life.
7. Taylor is also a talented soccer player and has represented Ireland on an international soccer level. Speaking about her preferred sport she said in the past: "I love playing for Ireland, and I love soccer, but when it comes down to it I would choose boxing as my number one sport as I'd miss it too much if I wasn't involved."
8. After finishing her Leaving Certificate (SAT equivalent) she enrolled in an arts degree in University College Dublin (UCD), but later put her studies on hold to focus on her boxing career.
9. Katie listens to her favorite music and reads Psalm 18 and other favorite verses from the Bible in preparation before a fight. She is a devout Christian.
10. The inclusion of women’s boxing as an Olympic sport and qualifying for the games became her ultimate goal in recent years. Speaking after her Olympic qualifier, Taylor told reporters: “Fighting at the Olympics has been my lifelong dream and I cannot believe I am there now.”
Source: Katie Taylor.net, Katie Taylor Facebook fan page, RTE Radio Miriam Meets.
Watch an interview with Katie Taylor from when she was 15.