KATIE TAYLOR suffered a shock defeat at the European Olympic Qualification Event in Samsun, Turkey Friday.
A close bout saw Azerbaijan lightweight Yana Alekseeva pip the Irish star on points. Alekseeva is a patient, southpaw counter-puncher. Taylor made a brisk start but the Azeri pocketed that crucial first round. The Irishwoman cleverly adjusted her tactics in the second, bringing Alekseeva on to sharp right hands. But the two remained neck and neck, selecting shot and counter-shot, and it was Alekseeva who won a unanimous decision, 39-37 for all three judges. Taylor, a five time World champion, has looked almost invincible in recent years. The last time she met defeat was a one-off in 2011.
Taylor, the reigning Olympic gold medallists, has a second shot at qualifying for Rio 2016 at the World championships in May, where she will need to finish in the top four.
No such dramas lie ahead of Nicola Adams, the London 2012 flyweight champion. In a technically superb performance Adams outboxed Norway’s Marielle Hansen, winning 40-36 for all three judges, guaranteeing herself a place at the next Olympic Games and becoming the first British boxer to qualify for the Rio Games in the process.