Golden girl Katie inspiring a new generation of boxers

Alan Owens


Alan Owens

IN the Excel arena in London her exploits were greeted with an ear-splitting roar that was measured at just short of a clap of thunder.

IN the Excel arena in London her exploits were greeted with an ear-splitting roar that was measured at just short of a clap of thunder.

In the more sedate surroundings of O’Mahony’s book shop in Limerick this week, Katie Taylor’s fans waited with quiet expectation, clutching copies of the Bray boxer’s new book My Olympic Dream to their chests with fervour.

And what a crowd; as Katie patiently signed pre-ordered copies of the books downstairs away from prying eyes, a line snaked around the large store, headed up by, as promised, Ballysimon Road woman Anna Moore, Irish boxing team manager and keen fan.

“It is very important that she is here in Limerick,” said Anna, a member of St Francis Boxing Club in the city, who has accompanied Katie on many trips to championships, lived and breathed every step with her.

“It is great to look around and see so many people here. It means a lot to me being from Limerick that she has got such a good turn out.”

Downstairs Katie was beaming, thrilled to hear so many people had turned out to see her on a wet Tuesday in December, acknowledging the fact that it was her first time in Limerick since her Olympic success.

“It is great to be back in Limerick, I’ve been here a few times,” she smiled, speaking to the Limerick Leader as she added yet another personalised message to the pre-purchased books.

“I think Anna’s at the front of the queue, she is great and it will be nice to see a familiar face. I know she and everyone from St Francis’ club were roaring me on in London - and Andy Lee I know well, so we have great connections from here and I always look forward to seeing everyone.”

The gold medal winning boxer admitted life had been “a bit hectic” since the highs of London 2012.

“It has been a bit hectic but I can’t complain, it has been brilliant, unbelievable - a blessing really, the last few weeks and months before that,” she said.

“I am looking forward to getting back to normality and a bit of training. This type of thing is very different for me, but it has been very exciting bringing the book out and seeing how well it is doing is really nice.”

She admitted gamely that co-author Johnny Watterson had “the toughest task really of getting the words out of me”.

“He did a great job and I don’t think anyone could have done better. I am delighted with it myself, that was the main thing, we worked really hard over it and put a lot of effort into getting it right.”

Taylor added that she still has not had time to reflect on her success, but was now looking ahead to Rio in 2016.

“It has been fairly hectic so I haven’t really had much of a chance to reflect on it all. Maybe when I retire I will be able to look back and think about it all, but for the moment I am just thinking about next year and trying to improve.

“I am a glutton for punishment staying around for another four years! But no, it is going to be a great few years hopefully and I hope I can continue to bring home more medals,” she added.