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Katie Taylor edges through to gold medal match

Katie Taylor
Katie Taylor is declared the winner. David Ramos/Getty Images
Judges select Irishwoman as 'better fighter' after scores tied with Azerbaijan's Alekseevna

Ireland's Katie Taylor advanced to the women's Boxing lightweight (57-60kg) final after overcoming Azerbaijan's Yana Alekseevna in a fiercely contested fight on Friday.

All three judges scored it 38-38 and were then asked to nominate their 'preferred winner' – based on who they believed showed more aggression and intent to win.

Two of them selected Taylor as the 'better fighter' and one opted for Alekseevna.

"It was a close fight," said Taylor. "It was always going to be. She's a top boxer. It was close, but I don't care, I'm through to the finals. I know I was down after three rounds so I had to go out and put the pressure on and try to win the round clearly."

Alekseevna said: "It was a strong competition and just a tiny step prevented me from winning. She (Taylor) is a worthy opponent. I don't feel pity to be defeated by her. She is my idol after my father. I am a fan of Katie."

Taylor, the most decorated athlete in women's Boxing, will face Estelle Mossely in Saturday's final, after the Frenchwoman beat Germany's Tasheena Bugar in a unanimous decision in the other semi-final.  

"I've boxed her (Mossely) a few times," said Taylor. "I'll have a word with my dad (her coach, Peter Taylor) about the fight. It's going to be a tough fight."

Mossely predicted a close contest in the final. "I have boxed with Katie two times and each time I lost, the second time close," she said. "I hope tomorrow I'm going to win. I think this one will be the closest of all our meetings."

The 28-year-old Taylor's medal haul at major competitions stands at 17 golds, including her Olympic title, five consecutive world championships, six consecutive European championships and five European Union championships.

Despite Alekseevna's loss, Azerbaijan had a good day in the Crystal Hall, reaching four finals.

Men's lightweight (60kg) Albert Selimov had problems with Sean McComb of Ireland, but finally got the unanimous verdict. Waiting for him in the final will be France's Sofiane Oumiha.

Men's welterweight (69kg) Parviz Baghirov outpointed Great Britain's Josh Kelly, but will have a tougher task in the final when he takes on the very mobile, fast and strong Russian Alexander Besputin, who has proved himself one of the boxers of the tournament.

In the men's middleweight (75 kg) category, Xaybula Musalov came out on top of a hard fight with Zoltan Harcsa of Hungary and will take on Irishman Michael O'Reilly, who went through to the final on a walkover when his semi-final opponent, Russia's Maxim Koptyakov, failed to pass a medical examination on his cut eye.

Finally, men's heavyweight (91kg) Abdulkadir Abdullayev cruised past Russia's Sadam Magomedov, and will now face Ukrainian Gevorg Manukian in the final.

The finals in all five weight categories will take place at Crystal Hall on Saturday 27 June, starting with the women's lightweight bout at 18:00.


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