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

Katie Taylor
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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

Valencia Marathon produces historic times in men’s, women’s races

2022 Valencia Marathon
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Kenyan Kelvin Kiptum and Ethiopian Amane Beriso won the Valencia Marathon and became the third-fastest man and woman in history, respectively.

Kiptum, a 23-year-old in his marathon debut, won the men’s race in 2 hours, 1 minute, 53 seconds. The only men to ever run faster over 26.2 miles are legends: Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge (2:01:09 world record, plus a 2:01:39) and Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele (2:01:41).

Kipchoge made his marathon debut at age 28, and Bekele at 31.

Beriso, a 31-year-old whose personal best was 2:20:48 from January 2016, stunned the women’s field Sunday by running 2:14:58. The only women to have run faster: Kenyans Brigid Kosgei (2:14:04) and Ruth Chepngetich (2:14:18).

Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey finished second in 2:16:49, the fastest-ever time for a woman in her marathon debut. Gidey is the world record holder at 5000m and 10,000m.

Valencia is arguably the top annual marathon outside of the six World Marathon Majors. The next major marathon is Tokyo on March 5.

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Aleksander Aamodt Kilde wins Beaver Creek downhill

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BEAVER CREEK, Colo. — Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde won his second straight World Cup downhill race to start the season, despite feeling under the weather.

Although dealing with an illness all week in training, Kilde powered through the challenging Birds of Prey course Saturday in a time of 1 minute, 42.09 seconds. It was enough to hold off Marco Odermatt of Switzerland by 0.06 seconds. James Crawford of Canada was third to earn his second career World Cup podium finish.

Kilde also won the opening downhill last weekend in Lake Louise, Alberta.

“It’s been a tough week,” Kilde said after the race. “I caught the flu in Lake Louise after a very, very nice weekend. It really hit me hard. Then I got a couple of days to rest and take it easy. … I felt OK. Still feeling it a little bit in my system.”

The Beaver Creek crew members had the course in solid shape a day after a downhill race was canceled due to high wind and snowfall.

ALPINE SKIING: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Kilde reached speeds around 75 mph in picking up his eighth World Cup downhill victory. That tied him with Kjetil Jansrud for the third-most downhill wins in the World Cup discipline among Norwegian men. The total trails only Aksel Lund Svindal (14) and Lasse Kjus (10).

“I found a really, really good set-up with my equipment and also with my skiing,” Kilde explained. “I believe in myself. I trust in myself. I have a good game plan. When I stand on the start, I don’t dwell on anything. I know that this plan is what I do and when I do that it’s going to be fast.”

Odermatt has been on the podium in all four World Cup races this season as he tries to defend his overall World Cup title. The 25-year-old finished third in the opening downhill of the season last weekend. He’s also won a giant slalom race and a super-G.

Ryan Cochran-Siegle wound up in seventh place for the top American finish. He was ninth in the downhill in Lake Louise.

“It’s been solid,” Cochran-Siegle said of his strides in the discipline. “A couple of little things here and there that pushed me off that top three. You have to ski with a lot of intensity and ski without abandon, in a sense. Today was a good step.”

Switzerland’s Beat Feuz, who won the Olympic downhill gold medal at the Beijing Games last February, tied for ninth.

The Beaver Creek stop on the circuit comes to a close Sunday with a super-G race. Odermatt will be the favorite after holding off Kilde in the opening super-G last weekend.

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