|Egan and Taylor primed for Hunky Dorys World Title Fight Night|
|Wednesday, 04 February 2009|
Following their medal winning exploits in 2008 it’s hard to believe that 2009 could be any better for Olympic hero Kenny Egan and reigning World and European champ Katie Taylor but 2009 is already shaping up to be another great year for both amateur stars.
Egan is set for a busy few months culminating in his bout on the Hunky Dorys World Title Fight Night at the O2 on March 21st. The Dubliner is hoping to lure Olympic rival Zhang Xiaoping to Ireland in a rematch of their Olympic final In Beijing last year but first he has some domestic business to attend to. The Irish Senior Championships get underway at the National Stadium this weekend with Egan looking to make it an incredible 9 Irish titles in a row.
“The seniors are my main focus right now,” said Egan. “The weigh in’s are on Friday and I can’t let anything else distract me from that at the moment. It’s going to be a busy few months because we have an International against the U.S. coming up too at the end of February but for now all I’m looking at is the Seniors and winning that ninth title.”
Egan admits that the lure of the professional game was attractive but having made his decision to remain faithful to the amateur code he says he’s a lot more content.
“I made the decision to stay amateur, it was a tough decision and I agonised over it for 4 months but I’ve made my decision now to stay amateur and aim for the London Olympics in 2012. I’ve no regrets and I’ve no intentions of turning professional.
“It’s definitely back to business now, I enjoyed my time off after the Olympics but since I’ve made the decision to stay amateur I’ve been keeping the head down and training hard. In the last couple of years there has never been more than 3 entries at light heavyweight but there’s 8 entrants this year so people obviously want to get a crack at me and I’m there to be shot at now.
“I know I’m going to have to bring my A game to the ring. The other guys will be boxing out of their skin because if they were to beat me it would be a huge scalp for them.”
Although his current focus is on domestic affairs Egan admits that the bout at The O2 on March 21st is a very attractive proposition. “It’s going to be great to be boxing on such a big occasion at The O2 and especially on home turf. It’s going to be a super experience and I’m really looking forward to it.
“I went to see Coldplay there in December and it’s a very impressive venue. I was in there again last week when it was empty and it was great to get in there and have another look around and actually picture a boxing ring in there. It’s going to be some night, Brian Peters always puts on a good show and this has the makings of something special.
It will also be a special night for Neilstown in Dublin with both Egan and Bernard Dunne local to the area. Egan says the impact of their successes is clear to see in the locality. “My own club in Neilstown is full to capacity at the moment but it’s not just Neilstown, clubs all over the county are jam packed full of kids these days and the sport at amateur and professional level in Ireland is booming at the moment.”
Across the city in Bray, Katie Taylor is also gearing up for a big 2009 and she’s hoping for some big news before she steps between the ropes at The O2. Taylor has been waiting on the inclusion of women’s boxing into the Olympics for what seems like an eternity now but she’s hopeful that the sport will get the green light for the 2012 games in the next month.
“Originally it was looking like there wouldn't be a decision made until October but I've heard that it might be brought forward so hopefully I might even know for sure before this fight comes around on March 21st. All the signs are positive that it will be included so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.”
While a Gold medal in 2012 is the long term target Taylor believes that her bout at The O2 next month could also be a career highpoint – although she admits that the night will come with a few butterflies. “I’ll probably be a little nervous fighting in front of such a big crowd but I think that's only natural. I'm always a little nervous before a fight but I've fought in big competitions like World and European Championships so I'm used to fighting under a bit of pressure.
“There's always pressure to win now every time I go away to a major competition but I know if I work hard and put everything in to my training then I'm giving myself the best chance possible. The important thing is to enjoy the big occasions as much as possible and hopefully I can do that next month as well.”
Tickets for the Hunky Dorys World Title Fight Night are priced from €50 and are available now from Ticketmaster (phone 0818 719 300 or visit ticketmaster.ie). Tickets are also available from Ticketmaster outlets nationwide.
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