LONDON: Ireland’s 2012 boxing gold medallist Katie Taylor has set aside the disappointment of failing to defend her lightweight title in Rio and turned professional, she announced on Thursday.
The 30-year-old five time world champion — who suffered a shock quarter-final loss in Rio — will make her professional debut at Wembley’s SSE Arena on November 26.
This will set her up for appearing on the undercard of another gold medalist from 2012 Anthony Joshua’s second defence of his IBF world heavyweight title at the Manchester Arena on December 10.
“I’m excited for the road ahead,” said Taylor, whose form slipped even before Rio as her long time mentor father Peter disappeared from her corner and was replaced by her brother Lee.
“When I first dreamt of Olympic gold, female boxing was practically unknown.
“Now because of my journey and the incredible supporters who came along with me, female boxing is as much part of the fabric of the Olympics as its male counterpart.
“I want to do the same for the professional sport and I hope those who have supported me along the way will come along with me.”
The six-time European champion — who went from 2011 to 2016 without suffering one defeat but has had three this year — will be part of the powerful Eddie Hearn stable.
“She is one of the most decorated amateur boxers of all time and a public icon in Ireland,” said Hearn.
“I met Katie for the first time last week and was fascinated by her desire to not just win world titles but to break down the barriers of women’s boxing. She is an incredible role model.”
According to influential promoter Kalle Sauerland Taylor is likely to enjoy several big paydays.
“Katie has got a great mix. She has the potential to go all the way and sell out the big arenas,” he told BBC Radio 5 live.