What would Ireland have done if women’s boxing didn’t make its Olympic debut in London? Katie Taylor earned the country’s only gold medal of the Games, out-swinging all the lads on the team — whose best finish was a silver — and proving that despite being soft-spoken, she can throw a punch. Taylor’s journey wasn’t an easy one: she and her trainer-father had to fight policies rooted in the strongly held belief that women have no place in the ring. But in London during her eight-minute gold-medal bout, as the entire nation of Ireland held its breath and her countrymen blanketed the arena in green and orange, quiet Katie delivered. It wasn’t an austere atmosphere. Organizers treated the new Olympic sport like a title match in Vegas, complete with dramatic spotlights and a booming announcer calling the rounds to deafening cheers from the crowd.
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