Katie Taylor through to Euro semi-finals

For Katie Taylor a third win in three days as the 2011 European Women’s Championships reached the quarter-final stage at the TopSports Centrum in Rotterdam this afternoon.

Taylor had defeated her today’s opponent, Ayzanat Hajiyeva of Azerbaijan in Ningbo City’s World event of 2008 (when her today’s opponent represented Russia) and today too the result was never in doubt as Taylor was in top form – and ‘cruised’ to a 17:4 win .
Taylor, who was 13-3 head entering the fourth and final round, added another three points to her tally thus comfortably qualifying for Friday’s semi final .

Awaiting her there is Sweden’s Helena Falk whom Taylor comprehensively defeated, at the Royal Hotel in Bray earlier this Summer,winning a unanimous points decision on that occasion.
This though is a European semi-final and “Team Taylor” will be preparing for this one as if it were the final itself. Today Falk overcame the challenge of Spain’s titleholder, Jennifer Miranda.

As a result of today’s win, the Wicklow native remains on course for a record breaking five European titles in-a-row ,though this year the opposition is arguably stronger than ever before.Hardly surprising that since London 2012 awaits and with only three women’s weight classes in the Olympic qualifiers – and in the Games itself – those in the weights above and below 60kg are queueing up for a tilt at the lightweight crown in London.

Cavan’s bantamweight Ceire Smith who had such an excellent win yesterday lost in her bid to progress to the semi-final stage , losing 24-9 defeat to Poland’s Sandra Drabik, one of the continent’s most experienced campaigners.

3-2 in Drabik’s favour at the end of round one , but the Pole – with her greater international experience and already a medal winner at this year’s European Union championships, performed at her very best and pulled away as the contest progressed.

How did Anna Moore, the Irish Team Manager in Rotterdam, see the two bouts involving her charges, so far today?

“It was a very brave performance from Ceire against a very experienced opponent. Katie was brilliant and she gave an excellent performance” she said.

Paulstown, Co Kilkenny student, Lauragh O’Neill (she has been boxing for 10 years albeit still not 21 ) the Irish light-heavyweight representative in Rotterdam , will be in the ring later this evening in one of the last contests of the second session when she faces the ‘formidable’ Timea Nagy of Hungary. O’Neill faces a very tough opponent indeed.

News of that and other news from Rotterdam later.

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