(Reuters) - Ireland’s Olympic lightweight boxing champion Katie Taylor qualified for the Rio Games on Tuesday after reaching the semi-finals of the women’s world championships in Astana.
Taylor, the London 2012 gold medallist, suffered a shock defeat in a European qualifier in Turkey last month and needed to make the last four at the worlds to secure her place on the plane to Brazil.
The Irish boxer beat Mexico’s Victoria Torres on a unanimous points decision.
“It’s definitely a big weight off my shoulders, defending the title has been a dream of mine since London 2012,” said the five-times world champion who now faces France’s Estelle Mossely.
”I knew I was going to need to dig deep at some stage but at times I really found it hard to get my distance and just had to stand there and box.
“We’re going to have some team in Rio and I think we’re going to come home with a few gold medals,” added Taylor.
Moselly’s compatriot Sarah Ourahmoune also secured her place for Rio in the flyweight category (51kg) after a walkover against China’s Ren Cancan.
Britain’s Nicola Adams, the defending Olympic flyweight champion seeking her first world title, reached the semi-finals with a victory over Taiwan’s Yi-Ting Lin.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes