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Katie Taylor, Claressa Shields face disappointments in women’s boxing after Olympic victories

Katie Taylor

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 09: Katie Taylor of Ireland celebrates victory after the Women’s Light (60kg) Boxing final bout on Day 13 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the ExCeL on August 9, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Popperfoto/Getty Images)

Popperfoto/Getty Images

Irish boxer Katie Taylor, one of three 2012 Olympic women’s boxing champions, is “flirting” with turning professional, saying “it looked like women’s boxing was taking a step backwards” at her only competition this year.

Taylor, 27, has won every major world and European amateur title since 2005 -- the 2012 Olympics, four World Championships and five European Championships. She was named Ireland’s Sports Person of the Year (over Rory McIlroy) for her triumph in London, the first Games to feature women’s boxing.

Taylor defended her European amateur title in July but told the Irish Independent that the experience was “disappointing.”

“It was just a fight in a little tent in front of 100 people; it was really badly organized,” Taylor said, according to the newspaper. “For an Olympic medalist to be fighting in front of that kind of crowd, it was just disappointing. It looked like women’s boxing was taking a step backwards.”

Taylor cited “failed promises” by the International Boxing Association (IABA) and wished that a World Series of Boxing for women had been started.

Another 2012 Olympic champion, American Claressa Shields, 18, went nearly a year between bouts. Shields’ first major competition since London will start Sunday, the Women’s Junior/Youth World Championships in Bulgaria.

The minimum age for senior amateur fighters was raised to 19 this year, which meant Shields had an even harder time finding opponents since London. Try asking teenagers if they want to fight an Olympic champion with a 34-1 record and 15 TKOs.

Shields was the only youth entrant in her weight class at this spring’s U.S. Championships.

“Nobody from the U.S. will fight me,” Shields told the Detroit News. “Nobody. I mean, we called everybody we could think of.”

Shields, now a freshman at Olivet College in Michigan, said she also expected more recognition after returning home for her Olympic gold. She, like Taylor, has mulled turning pro.

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