Katie Taylor

Katie Taylor, Claressa Shields face disappointments in women’s boxing after Olympic victories

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Irish boxer Katie Taylor, one of three 2012 Olympic women’s boxing champions, is “flirting” with turning professional, saying “it looked like women’s boxing was taking a step backwards” at her only competition this year.

Taylor, 27, has won every major world and European amateur title since 2005 — the 2012 Olympics, four World Championships and five European Championships. She was named Ireland’s Sports Person of the Year (over Rory McIlroy) for her triumph in London, the first Games to feature women’s boxing.

Taylor defended her European amateur title in July but told the Irish Independent that the experience was “disappointing.”

“It was just a fight in a little tent in front of 100 people; it was really badly organized,” Taylor said, according to the newspaper. “For an Olympic medalist to be fighting in front of that kind of crowd, it was just disappointing. It looked like women’s boxing was taking a step backwards.”

Taylor cited “failed promises” by the International Boxing Association (IABA) and wished that a World Series of Boxing for women had been started.

Another 2012 Olympic champion, American Claressa Shields, 18, went nearly a year between bouts. Shields’ first major competition since London will start Sunday, the Women’s Junior/Youth World Championships in Bulgaria.

The minimum age for senior amateur fighters was raised to 19 this year, which meant Shields had an even harder time finding opponents since London. Try asking teenagers if they want to fight an Olympic champion with a 34-1 record and 15 TKOs.

Shields was the only youth entrant in her weight class at this spring’s U.S. Championships.

“Nobody from the U.S. will fight me,” Shields told the Detroit News. “Nobody. I mean, we called everybody we could think of.”

Shields, now a freshman at Olivet College in Michigan, said she also expected more recognition after returning home for her Olympic gold. She, like Taylor, has mulled turning pro.

Don King rips plan for professionals to box in Olympics

North Korean member of IOC expects team at PyeongChang Olympics

VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 12:  Song Chol Ri of North Korea carries the national flag during the Opening Ceremony of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics at BC Place on February 12, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada.  (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
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The North Korean member of the International Olympic Committee believes a North Korean delegation will be at the PyeongChang Olympics, according to Kyodo News.

“There is no reason why we won’t come and no reason why we can’t,” IOC member Chang Ung said last week at the Asian Winter Games in Japan, according to the news agency. “We will proceed according to the Olympic Charter.”

An IOC spokesman previously said that the first step toward possible North Korean participation in the PyeongChang Olympics would be the North Korean Olympic Committee’s response to its invitation to the Winter Games sent out two weeks ago.

The IOC sends invitations to National Olympic Committees around the world coinciding with one year out to an Olympics.

However, it’s not a certainty that North Korea will qualify any athletes for the Winter Games. Despite winning at least four medals at every Summer Games since boycotting Seoul 1988, it didn’t have any athletes at the Sochi Olympics and just two at Vancouver 2010.

North Korea has zero top performing international winter sports athletes and few who even appear at major competitions.

North Korean short track speed skater Choe Un Song ranks No. 123 in the world after appearing in one World Cup this season in Beijing. A pairs figure skating team is ranked No. 54. A different North Korean pairs team missed a Sochi berth by 1.5 points at the last qualifying competition.

Nations without qualified athletes are still able to enter one man and one woman in the Summer Olympics in swimming and track and field. But no such exception applies in the Winter Games.

The IOC has given no indication that an exception could be made to invite a non-qualified North Korean athlete to PyeongChang.

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Chad le Clos still has nightmares of losing to Michael Phelps in Rio

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 09:  Michael Phelps (L) of the United States leads Chad le Clos of South Africa in the Men's 200m Butterfly Final on Day 4 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 9, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
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Chad le Clos reportedly said he still has nightmares about losing to Michael Phelps in their much-anticipated rematch in the Rio Olympic 200m butterfly.

“I wake up in the middle of the night in a sweat over that race,” le Clos said, according to Independent Online in South Africa.

In Rio, le Clos finished fourth in the 200m butterfly final (video here), seven tenths of a second behind Phelps after famously turning his head to look at Phelps in the final 50 meters of the race.

In 2012, le Clos beat Phelps for Olympic gold by .05.

When Phelps unretired in 2014, he said he would never race the 200m butterfly again. But he picked it up a year later, in part because times around the world were not that fast and in part because of his desire to exact revenge on le Clos in Rio.

Now, it’s le Clos who wants a rematch.

“I want it that bad,” le Clos said, according to the report. “I just want Phelps to come back.”

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MORE: PyeongChang 2018 daily schedule highlights