Pentecostal Christian Undisputed World Champion Women’s Boxer sounds like an unbelievable oxymoron. But 37-year-old Irish woman Katie Taylor is the real deal.
She’s considered the best pound for pound female boxer on the planet — some say the best of all-time — and arguably the most loved sporting personality on the Emerald Isle. Away from the ring she personifies Godly humility. “I love the fact that God chooses the lowly ones,” she told the Irish Times two years ago.
“My granny had a tough life but she is such a fantastic woman. There’s not a bitter bone in her body. She grew up in poverty and we were the same. We wouldn’t have had a lot of money growing up. We were a very, very poor family living in the roughest area, but God chose our family and did something with us. I have two brothers and one sister and we all became successful. But nobody would have looked at our family or our house and thought: ‘Success will come to them’.”
“My granny is the most generous and soft-hearted person you could meet, and my mam is the exact same, and such a strong person. She’s the reason why we grew up believers in God and she brought us to church. I guess my parents would have been the biggest influence on my life growing up. But I am the person that I am today because of gran.”
Katie Taylor recently became the undisputed world champion in two weights – lightweight and super lightweight. And she gives all the glory to God, raising a Hallelujah after her latest victory. Her professional career was probably over had she lost the fight. Katie has bounced back from setbacks before. The 2012 Olympic champion was shocked to be eliminated in the early rounds at the Rio Games. She split with her father as her coach after her parents separated. And she had suffered her only professional defeat to her opponent six months earlier. Every time she showed remarkable resilience.
Former Irish WBO title holder Andy Lee said Katie gets her strength from her faith. He told the Untouchable podcast: “I think because she is such a humble person, her having that faith, it makes it easy for her to reconcile with her achievements. Being so humble, I think she has to give power to something else beyond herself. She can’t take responsibility for all she has achieved so she gives it up to God because she believes what she is doing she wouldn’t have achieved without her faith.”
In her latest fight, she walked out into the ring at Dublin’s 3Arena to the worship song I Raise A Hallelujah in front of a TV audience of millions. But before that she prayed. She prays with her mother ahead of every bout. She told the Irish Times: “I actually don’t know how people get through difficult moments without God in their life. That’s my anchor, my rock and there are definitely times I cling onto the word of God.”
“One of my favourite verses is in the Book of Romans and the gist of it is that whatever you’re going through there’s a defining moment you can actually use for your benefit. I believe that.”
Katie also draws inspiration from Psalm 18, which her mother encouraged her to read when she was 17. She says it has now become her mantra which she reads before every fight: The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.
Away from the ring, the born-again boxing champion attends an Assembly of God church in Dublin. She admits: “I’m always such a quiet person anyway. I always keep myself to myself and don’t reveal too much. It’s actually very easy to live a quiet life regardless of the spotlight on you. We are a very private and quiet family and that’s the way I like it.”
Photo: Facebook – Katie Taylor