Before they were stars
Ever wondered what your favourite sportspeople were like before they were super-mega-famous? Every week Tokyo 2020 will give you a glimpse into what life was like for some of the world’s greatest athletes before they were stars.
- Name: Katie Taylor
- Age: 34
- Nationality: Irish
- Profession: Boxer
What has she achieved?
In the case of Katie Taylor, it's not too much of an exaggeration to answer the above question with one word: everything.
In an illustrious amateur career, Taylor won five consecutive Women's World Championships gold medals, six European Championships golds and five European Union Championships golds. But the jewel in the crown was her lightweight gold medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games - the first Olympics to feature a women's boxing competition. She beat Russian Federation boxer Sofya Ochigava 10-8 on points to secure the inaugural women's lightweight boxing title.
Having enjoyed a sensational amateur career, Taylor moved into the professional ranks in 2016, where she currently holds a record of 16-0. Widely regarded as one of the greatest female boxers in the world, she is one of only eight boxers - female or male - to have ever held the WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO titles at the same time.
In 2019, Taylor also became a two-weight world champion, winning the WBO junior-welterweight title by beating Christina Linardatou by unanimous decision.
As well as being an exceptional boxing talent, Taylor was a highly accomplished footballer, representing the Republic of Ireland at both youth and senior levels. She had 19 caps and scored two goals for the senior national team - both described as 'long-range stunners' in the Irish Mirror.
A self-confessed Leeds United supporter, Taylor eventually chose boxing over football, saying in a 2019 Sky Sports interview: "I did have a chance to get a football scholarship over in America when I left school, but boxing was always my number one passion. I knew I had to choose between the two sports and I obviously chose boxing."
But even though she's gone on to achieve a phenomenal amount of success in boxing, her former Republic of Ireland teammate Marie Curtin has suggested she may have enjoyed just as much success had she continued with her football career:
"I have no doubt if Katie chose soccer she would have excelled to the highest levels. She loved her training."
"She would still be a senior international player helping her team compete well in World Cups and European Cups to this day if she was still playing."
What's she up to now?
Taylor has continued to wow the world of boxing and recently increased her four-year winning streak with a unanimous points victory over Belgium's Delfine Persoon.
Outside of sport, she is involved with a number of different charities, including Barnardos, Zest4Kids, Bray Lakers and Wicklow Hospice Foundation. She also maintains a fondness for the Gaelic language, explaining in an interview with RTE that "I would love to be able to speak my own language and maybe have an interview in Irish maybe after my fights".
Back in 2015, Taylor remarked to reporters: "I want to go down in the history books as one of the greatest female boxers of all time and I think I’m on the right path."
Now five years later and with a slew of World Championship belts to her name, the boxer from Bray in Ireland can be content that her dream has come true.