AMERICAN lightweight Mikaela Mayer won her first bout at the Women’s World championships in Astana, Kazakhstan, outpointing Turkey’s Esra Yildiz.
How pleased were you to start with a win?
It’s always good to get the ring rust off. In your first fight you usually have the most nerves. I’m glad I got it out the way. I put on a good performance, especially in the third and fourth round I really got into my rhythm and picked it up a little bit.
The first two rounds I was trying to find my space and once I found my distance I don’t think it was too hard of a fight, she was pretty much walking into everything I threw.
You’ve got China’s Junhua Yin on Saturday (May 21), have you seen much of the Chinese lightweight?
We’ve fought three times. She beat me last year in Bulgaria, then I beat her twice towards the end of 2015. She’s a good boxer, she’s a lefty so it’s going to be a very strategic fight, a very calculated boxing match.
Is this the first tournament where you could actually box Katie Taylor?
This is, the first time she’s actually been here and I’ve been at the 60 kilo weight class.
The USA have Billy Walsh (previously Ireland’s coach) now, is boxing Taylor something you’ve been working towards?
Well, Katie Taylor since I started has always been the best. I knew I’d face her one day. I think this will be the perfect time to face her. I’ve been with Billy for the last eight months now and he’s amazing, he’s really taught me a lot. I just feel like I’m peaking as an athlete and as a boxer. No better time to face her than now.
You’ve already qualified for the Olympics, how important is this tournament to you?
There’s definitely some pressure taken off, now that I already have my spot in Rio. I’m really able to just come here and focus on getting my gold medal. I’m a little bit more relaxed, the pressure is off a little bit. It still means just as much to me to go in there and perform to the best of my abilities.
One last question, are you wearing trainers instead of boxing boots?
I train in these, I spar in these, they are so comfortable to me and they’re the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever fought in or trained in. And I qualified for the Olympics in these, I wore these in Argentina and I love them so much, I don’t know, I just felt like why not wear them again. I may be in them in the Olympics too, who knows?