Queen Katie – Thousands turn out to welcome home our hero

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Katie Taylor with her adoring fans at a special event on Bray seafront organised by Wicklow County Council.

“The best is yet to come”.

That’s what undisputed boxing champion Katie Taylor told the thousands who turned out to welcome her home as she displayed her five light heavyweight on Bray Seafront on June 7.

Fans young and old, many holding tri-colours and some aspiring fighters even wearing boxing gloves cheered on 32-year-old as she arrived to the bandstand.

Gardai escorted a bus carrying Katie and her family to the event and taking to the stage she acknowledged the support she has received from Ireland and in particular in Bray throughout her career.

even during the low points the support I got here was incredible

“This is just incredible to see all the people here… even during the low points like the Rio Olympics the support I got here was incredible.

“The fight on Saturday was business as usual for me, it was a very close fight but I’m looking forward to a rematch as well,” she said to a massive cheer from the crowd.

That may have to wait though as next up will be seven-belt world champion Amanda Serrano later this year.

Asked by Des Cahill, who acted as MC, if she was sore after last weekend’s bout, Taylor was quick as a flash saying: “Delfine Persoon was a lot sorer than me so… it was a very tough fight.

I’ve plenty of years left in me and the best is yet to come.

Katie ‘s return to Bray evoked memories of the great night on the seafront in 2012 when Katie returned home with Olympic gold. Persoon’s WBC belt was added to the WBO, WBA and IBF belts that Katie already possessed.

Katie had to dig very deep to stay with Persoon over the 10 rounds; so much so that she had nothing left in the tank at the end of the contest – another couple of rounds and Katie could have been defeated.

A win is a win though, and despite the sour grapes from Persoon, her heroic effort neither knocked out Katie nor did enough to convincingly deserve a points win.

Sure there were plenty of begrudgers, aside from Persoon and her team; David Haye and Carl Frampton on BBC Radio Five Live’s coverage said that Persoon should have won. I don’t agree. Katie won the contest honestly.

Persoon was a very, very tough opponent and the fight was a great advertisement for boxing, especially women’s boxing. Persoon’s background in judo and absence of fear meant for a brave and unorthodox type of bout for Katie, but she survived.

Persoon should have been more gracious in defeat than to be pointing her finger and leaving the venue in a huff.

She doesn’t have the same profile as Katie and has rarely fought outside Belgium, where she still juggles working a full-time job with boxing professionally, but none of this is Katie’s fault or concern.

Thank you Katie for another memorable fight!

– Brian Quigley

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