Taylor's dream comes true

Boxer wins first gold for Ireland; Russian Ochigava settles for silver

Taylor's dream comes true

Ireland’s four-time world champion Katie Taylor won the first women’s Olympic lightweight final with a 10-8 win over Russia’s Sofya Ochigava on Friday to claim her country’s first London gold.

Having defeated Ochigava in May for her most recent world crown, the 26-year-old Taylor added the Olympic title to a resume that also includes the European title.

“It is unbelievable,” said Taylor, who has said she will consider going professional now that she’s been part of the women’s boxing’s Olympic debut in London.

“This is like a dream come true. I always dreamed of becoming an an Olympic champion,’’ she added. “It’s amazing to sit here as the European, world and now Olympic champion,’’ Taylor said.

With the majority of the crowd wearing the green of Ireland or waving an Irish tricolour, there were huge expectations on the softly-spoken brunette from Bray, County Wicklow, at London’s ExCel Arena.

Before the final, ex-world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis described Taylor as the best boxer he has ever seen, adding he would expect her to beat most men in the ring and the Olympic champion took the compliment with grace.

Taylor had a nervy start as the first round finished 2-all while the Russian took a 4-2 lead after the second with some solid blows, causing anxious looks in the Irish corner.

But an impressive display in the third saw Taylor up her work-rate to win the round 4-1 and take a 7-5 lead in the gold medal bout.

Ochigava worked hard in the fourth and final round to try to close the gap and raised her arm in triumph at the final bell. But Taylor was not to be denied as the fourth round finished level at 3-3.

“It was difficult to fight when everything is against you,” admitted Ochigava. “There’s a lot of support for Katie, but I imagined that all of them are supporting me,’’ she added.

Having lost Wednesday’s semifinal bouts, Mavzuna Chorieva of Tajikistan and Brazil’s Adriana Araujo were the bronze medallists.  

Shields wins gold

Teenager Claressa Shields restored some pride to American boxing on Friday when she beat Russia’s Nadezda Torlopova 19-12 in the women’s middleweight final. Having lost Wednesday’s semifinal bouts, Marina Volnova of Kazakhstan and and China’s Li Jinzi were both awarded bronze medals as women’s boxing made its Olympic debut in London. At 17 years and 145 days, Shields is the youngest boxer to win an Olympic gold medal since compatriot John Fields won the featherweight title at the 1924 Games in Paris as a 16-year-old.

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