BAKU-2015


Irish Taylor cruises into semi-final showdown with Azerbaijani Alekseeva

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Baku, June 24, AZERTAC

Ireland's Katie Taylor strolled into the semi-finals in the lightweight division with a win over 19-year-old Swede Ida Lundblad on Wednesday at the Baku 2015 Games.

Lundblad put in a fearless display against the most decorated woman in boxing, but the task was too great for her.

Taylor is as hungry as ever to add to her medal haul and there is only one colour on her mind. "I'm not settling for a bronze medal," she said. "I always come into these competitions hoping for a gold medal so I won't really relax until I have a gold medal around my neck."

Olympic and multi-medalled world champion Taylor faces Yana Alekseeva of Azerbaijan in the semi-finals on Friday 26 June and has no fears about taking on the local girl in front of a partisan crowd.

"I've boxed many people in their own backyard plenty of times," Taylor said. "In China I boxed a Chinese girl in the final of the world championships and I've boxed Russians before in their home nation as well.

"I'm going to enjoy it. The atmosphere is going to be fantastic. It's going to be such a tough contest, but these are the kind of fights that I cherish."

Alekseeva does not intend to be a pushover for the Irish boxer.

"I'm not going to relax, I will fight till the end," she said. "I'm also not an easy rival."

In the men's middleweight (75kg) division, the semi-final pairings match Russia's Maxim Koptyakov against Michael O'Reilly of Ireland, and Azerbaijani Xaybula Musalov against no.2 seed Zoltan Harsca of Hungary.

Having reached the last four in Baku, O'Reilly was looking further afield, saying: "Winning a medal here means I have now qualified for the world championships (in Doha in October) and that gives me a chance to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. That's the dream for me."

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