Forget Rio 2016 for a second, Astana could set the scene for an outstanding Katie Taylor achievement

She could win her sixth AIBA World Championship by the end of the week, lest we forget

BY Raf Diallo 17:59 Wednesday 25 May 2016, 17:59 25 May 2016

Ireland's Katie Taylor makes her way to ring with coach Zaur Antia ©INPHO

According to Katie Taylor's coach, she doesn't quite believe that she has qualified for the 2016 Olympics yet.

Well, she can rest assured that she has and will also have an opportunity to defend the gold medal she took home from London in 2012.

But that is a quest on the near horizon with a couple of months still to go before the start of the Games.

More immediate is a landmark achievement in the very near future if all goes well.

The Bray boxer is at the AIBA World Championships in Astana, Kazakhstan, which is one of the qualifying events for Rio.

But in their own right, those championships hold some importance for her already lavish legacy as a titan of women's boxing.

At the last AIBA World Championships which took place in Jeju, Korea, Taylor returned home with her fifth world title in a row by beating Azerbaijan's Yana Alekseeva in the lightweight final.

I was at Dublin airport upon her return from Korea that time in November 2014 and the sense of excitement among the crowd waiting to greet her that time was palpable as she equalled the record of another legend in the shape of Mary Kom, who also has five world golds as well as an Olympic bronze from London 2012.

"It's just an absolute honour to equal Mary Kom's record. She's a hero of the sport and she's always been a hero of mine as well," she said at the time.

But significantly, Taylor also told Newstalk that, "these [world] titles mean just as much to me as any Olympic title as well".

And it should for us too, because she is now just two steps away from an unprecedented sixth title. After beating Mexico's Victoria Torres, she is now into a semi-final against French rival  Estelle Mossely tomorrow and just two wins from No 6.

Beat Mossely and either a Finnish or Russian opponent awaits in the final on Friday, May 27th.

Perhaps because she needed to use this tournament to qualify for Rio after a surprise loss at the European Qualifiers in Turkey last month, that slightly overshadowed the other achievement she appears set to build towards in Astana.

If Taylor wins world title No 6, she herself won't stop and reflect on glory with more targets ahead. But we should because a sixth world gold is an enormous achievement in its own right - before its role hopefully as a launchpad for Olympic glory in August.


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