For Irish boxer Katie Taylor, there's nothing better than winning medals for her country, she said.
That's why the 26-year-old Olympic champion has decided to remain an amateur in order to continue working toward the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. There, Taylor hopes to repeat as Olympic lightweight champion and become the first woman to win back-to-back boxing titles at the Olympic Games. Boxing first appeared for women at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
"I've been offered a few professional contracts... in the hundreds and thousands," Taylor told an Irish radio station.
But signing lucrative contracts isn't what Taylor wants to do. She doesn't want to have to worry about getting "the right fights," as she calls them, and she'd rather not concern herself with finding the right promoter.
Instead, Taylor, who said she believes she could keep boxing for 10 more years, would rather continue to represent her country.
"Just boxing for my country and bringing back medals, there's really nothing better. I'm going to stay amateur and defend my title in Rio in four years' time," Taylor told an Irish radio station.
During her amateur career, Taylor has won four World Championship titles dating back to 2006. In addition, she's claimed five European Amateur Championship titles, dating back to 2005. Each of Taylor's titles have been won in the 60-kilogram (132-pound) weight class.
In winning gold at the Olympic Games, Taylor won Ireland's first untainted gold medal in 20 years. In 1996, swimmer Michelle Smith won three gold medals, but speculation about Smith's alleged performance-enhancing drug use has called her accomplishments into question. Smith was given a four-year ban for tampering with a sample in 1998. She was not stripped of her medals as the failed test came after the Olympic Games.
Before Smith, the last Irish athlete to win a gold medal at the Olympic Games was Michael Carruth in 1992. There, Carruth won the men's welterweight boxing title.
In summer Olympic history, Irish athletes have won nine gold medals, eight silver medals and 11 bronze medals.
Sandra Johnson is a longtime fan of Olympic sports. While working for the United States Olympic Committee and living in the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., Johnson had the opportunity to immerse herself in the Olympic Movement. Follow her on Twitter: @SandraJohnson46
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