Bray boxer Katie Taylor has picked up yet another major accolade, this time being awarded by the Boxing Writers of America Association as their 2019 ‘Female Fighter of the Year’.
Ireland’s Taylor edged out record-shattering seven-division champion Amanda Serrano and long-reigning bantamweight titlist Mariana Juarez for top honors. “I’m honored and delighted to be receiving this,” Taylor (15-0, 6KOs) told BWAA upon learning of the news. “This is one of the more prestigious awards in boxing. Taylor’s impact on the sport was felt long before turning pro in 2016.
The fighting pride of Bray, Ireland is credited with breaking ground for females to participate in the Summer Olympics, a movement through which her efforts—which included participating in exhibition matches—convinced the Olympic committee to include female boxing in the 2012 London Olympics. Fittingly, Taylor was among the first wave of female boxers to capture a Gold medal, joining United States’ Claressa Shields and England’s Nicola Adams. Shields and Adams repeated in 2016, while Taylor’s bid at a second medal ended with a bitter defeat in the opening round of competition in Rio.
Her pro career has more than made up for the temporary setback, including her year that was in 2019. The unbeaten 33-year old entered the year as a two-belt lightweight titlist, adding a third strap with a knockout win over Rose Volante this past March in Philadelphia. Three months later, Taylor joined Shields and Braekhus as the only female boxers in history to enjoy undisputed championship status, barely surviving a 10-round war with Belgium’s Delfine Persoon to collect all of the relevant lightweight hardware this past June at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Fittingly, she also joins Braekhus and Shields as the lone recipients of the BWAA Christy Martin Award, which was created in 2017. Braekhus was the first recipient, with Shields taking top honors in 2018. Taylor ended her 2019 campaign by becoming a two-division titlist, edging Christina Linardatou over 10 rounds this past November in Manchester, England. The bout marked her first appearance back in the United Kingdom since last July, but it was the last of her four-fight stateside tour which serves as her fondest memory of the best year of her pro career to date.
“I think the biggest accomplishment this year was becoming the undisputed champion,” insists Taylor. “Winning it at Madison Square Garden in one of the best fights of the year was huge for me, and huge for my country. “It’s something I always dreamed of since I turned pro.”