Katie Taylor has a framed CS Lewis quote at her gym in the US that reads, “Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one else is looking.”
That sums up how Katie lives her life,” says her mother, Bridget, of Katie’s adopted home of Vernon, Connecticut, a small town about 100 miles outside of Boston. It’s Thursday morning in the US and Bridget is “cleaning up the house” while her daughter is back in training just days after her historic win over Amanda Serrano at Madison Square Garden in New York
“I hang around the house, tidy up and Katie works out. this is katie What you see is what you get with her. There’s no entitlement,” says Bridget. “She is a great role model and full of integrity. She’s kept humble — she’s never changed who she is. She still has the same friends she played soccer with as a kid.”
Bray, Co. Wicklow will always be where the heart of the 35-year-old boxer is, but after living in Vernon for six years, the quiet rural US town is her second home.
“I feel like this is where she made her life,” says Bridget. “This feels like their home. And travel is so easy now – you never feel like she’s that far away. She’ll be home for sure this summer for my mother’s 90th birthday.”
For now, the Taylor clan have come to Vernon, spent time together and basked in the boxer’s historic performance last Saturday night in which she retained her undisputed lightweight title. Her older sister Sarah and older brothers Lee and Peter have joined their mother in Vernon along with all their children.
“We’re all here, 14 of us, including the eight grandchildren – Katie took part in some of the children’s classes,” says Bridget. “We’re all still grinning from ear to ear. We’re just so happy for them. She worked so hard. She was the outsider, but we knew she had what it took. I feel a deep sense of pride.
“We need to have a great time together as a family and have some nice meals around the table. Being all together was all we needed to celebrate.”
Bridget is her daughter’s biggest supporter and travels to all of her fights. “I’m always on fight week,” she says. “But I don’t find it that comfortable preparing for the fight. It’s normal to be scared before she fights. Boxing is a tough sport. I’ve watched Katie’s ups and downs. I find it very nerve wracking watching her fight.
“The build-up to this fight was like nothing I had ever experienced before. It was special. I can’t even describe the atmosphere that night – unbelievable. The silence when Katie came out. Then the Puerto Ricans banged their drums, but they couldn’t drown out the Irish.
“They could have filled Madison Square Garden twice, there was a lot of interest in that fight. It was such a great thing for women’s boxing and is a great honor for Katie and her opponent Serrano who deserves so much respect. They pave the way for other women. It is not every day that one becomes a historian.”
Is Bridget backing already ongoing plans for a rematch between Taylor and Serrano at Croke Park later this year?
“It would be fantastic – to see 80,000 people in Croke Park, can you imagine that?” she says. “It would be awful if Katie never had a pro fight in her own country. If we thought the atmosphere at Madison Square Garden was anything special, Croke Park would blow everyone away.
“It wasn’t just boxing fans who would come. Katie attracts people from all walks of life. She appeals to people simply because of their personality. People are attracted to her – and especially young people. I think it’s their honesty and integrity.”
After watching the physicality of her daughter’s last ringside fight, which required stitches for both Taylor and her opponent, would she like to see her hang up her gloves and retire soon?
“I never think about what I would like,” says Bridget. “Katie will know for herself when that time comes. She’s getting older, we’re all slowing down. But Katie lives a very clean life in terms of what she puts into her body. But it’s also about passion, and she still has such a passion for the sport. Money doesn’t motivate them.”
Bridget envisions her daughter always remaining involved in the world of boxing.
“I can imagine her staying in the sport,” she says. “She has a passion for the outsider. I could maybe imagine her opening a gym for underprivileged kids over here. There’s a lot of poverty over here and we really need to help get the kids off the streets. Boxing is a great rescue sport.
“Katie is a very quiet, introverted person. When she speaks, wisdom is there. Children are drawn to her because of this and I can imagine there is a lot she could do to help young people.”
Taylor’s influence on her sport stands in stark contrast to the influence of the Kinahan Cartel, which funded its way into the world of professional boxing by operating as one of the world’s largest cocaine trafficking networks.
“If you look back at the history of boxing, there have always been some shady characters involved in professional boxing,” says Bridget. “But we don’t get into talking about others and what they do.
“Katie is focused on what she does, which is being a good influence and showing kids that you don’t have to go that route. It’s not about money, it’s not about bling. It’s about the pure love of sport.”
Bridget is scheduled to fly back to Ireland this week. “It was such a great time,” she says. “I’m the proudest Irish mum in the world right now.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/croke-park-rematch-would-blow-everyone-away-says-katies-mum-41626784.html “The rematch at Croke Park would blow everyone’s mind,” says Katie’s mother