Russian has whinge before big fight
Katie Taylor’s biggest rival believes the Irish lightweight boxer gets much more help than she needs from referees, judges and even the highest levels of the amateur sport.
Sofya Ochigava of Russia will fight Taylor on Thursday for a gold medal in the debut of Olympic women’s boxing after both veteran boxers won their semifinal bouts Wednesday.
“When you go in to box against her, you begin with minus 10 points,” Ochigava said.
Taylor is the unofficial best pound-for-pound fighter of the women’s sport after winning four straight world championships with an entertaining style. Her two bouts in London have been blowout wins backed by an arena filled with thousands of raucous, flag-waving Irish fans roaring at her every move.
But Ochigava is fed up losing to Taylor in international competitions, most recently in the world championships in May. She knows the Irish crowd is a major advantage for Taylor in London, but thinks Taylor has plenty of advantages already.
“It’s difficult,” Ochigava said. “When you go boxing against Katie Taylor, you’re not boxing with her. You’re boxing with all judges around the table, and it’s difficult boxing against all the system, but I will try like all other girls.”
Taylor beat Tajikistan’s Mavzuna Chorieva 17-9 on Wednesday, and Ochigava followed her with a 17-11 victory over Adriana Araujo of Brazil. The first women’s boxing tournament has been a hit at the London Games, and Taylor has been the unquestioned star of the show with her poised performances in front of her frenzied fans.
Ochigava appeared determined to remind the referees and the judges who score the bout by pushing buttons for clean punches that they shouldn’t reward Taylor for her past achievements, including the world titles and five straight European titles.
“AIBA, they want to make her (a) superstar, but when a boxer goes in the ring, it’s not important if she is world champ or not world champ,” Ochigava said. “Everyone here is a world champ. There are 11 people here. They’re all world champs. It’s not important. If you have a face, they must push the button.”