Irish fighter Katie Taylor says removing boxing from the Olympics will be a «big blow» to the sport in general

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  • Katie Taylor, Irish professional boxer, won the Olympic gold medal at the London 2012 Games, a victory that set her on the path to a successful professional career.
  • The International Olympic Committee has refused to confirm if boxing will have a place in the Los Angeles 2028 Games.
  • Taylor, whose career took off after his Olympic victory, said eliminating boxing «would be a huge blow to boxing in general, even professional boxing.»

Katie Taylor had Olympic dreams long before she became one of the faces of women’s professional boxing.

The Irish wrestler won a gold medal at the 2012 London Games, setting her on the path to a highly successful professional career.

He worries that future generations won’t have the same opportunity because of a longstanding dispute between Olympic officials and the International Boxing Association. The International Olympic Committee has refused to confirm boxing’s place in the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

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«It’s going to be a huge blow to boxing in general, even professional boxing,» Taylor told The Associated Press before her fight against Chantelle Cameron in Dublin on Saturday. «The biggest incentive for amateur boxers is the Olympics. If they (don’t) have that, I think it could drive a lot of people away from the sport. It could really be a big blow to the sport in general.»

The impact on women’s boxing could be particularly damaging considering that she only made her Olympic debut in 2012.

Taylor and Claressa Shields have used their Olympic success as a stepping stone into the professional ranks: headlining billboards, selling out large arenas and garnering more media attention to help propel the women’s game into the mainstream.

«I hope they can solve their problems because the Olympics are a big part of boxing,» said Taylor, the undefeated and undisputed lightweight champion who will challenge for Cameron’s super lightweight belts on Saturday.

Irish Katie Taylor arrives for a lightweight championship boxing match on April 30, 2022 in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)

The 2024 Paris Olympics are not in doubt: the IOC plans to organize the qualifying and final tournaments like its boxing task force did for the Tokyo Games in 2021.

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The IOC cut ties with the sport’s governing body in 2019 over concerns about governance and fairness in trials. He is also wary of the IBA’s ties to Russia.

An investigation found that some bouts at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics were rigged by «complicit and obedient» referees and judges. In Rio, Irishman Michael Conlan accused Russia and the sport’s governing body of corruption after his bantamweight quarterfinal loss to Vladimir Nikitin.

In recent weeks, boxing officials in the United States and Britain have announced plans to preserve the sport’s place in the Olympic Games by launching a new federation to rival the IBA, formerly known as AIBA.

Boxing has been a part of all but one Olympic program since 1904, and the IOC has said it could still be added by 2028. Roland Garros, home of the French Open, is one of the main venues for boxing at the Paris Games of the next year.

Boxing is the most successful Olympic sport in Ireland. Eighteen of the country’s 35 medals are in boxing.

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In Tokyo, Kellie Anne Harrington became the second Irish boxer to win an Olympic medal when she took gold in the lightweight division, as Taylor had before her.

«Since I was a kid, my dream was to win an Olympic gold medal. That’s all I dreamed of,» said Taylor, 36. «It’s pretty sad that if it goes out… kids are going to grow up without that dream.»

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