London: Katie Taylor of Ireland won the first lightweight gold medal in Olympic women's boxing, edging rival Sofya Ochigava of Russia 10-8 on Thursday in front of a raucous, mostly Irish crowd.
Taylor dropped to her knees and looked skyward as soon as the decision was announced, bringing an even louder roar from the fans, many of them in face paint and elaborate Irish-themed costumes. She then hugged her cornermen and paraded around the ring draped in the green, white and orange flag of Ireland.
Taylor barely beat Ochigava in a defensive fight, relying on a 4-1 points swing in the third round after trailing midway through the bout.
Taylor is the unofficial pound-for-pound champion of women's boxing after winning the past four world titles with an entertaining style. Ochigava is Taylor's only rival for lightweight supremacy, and the Russian criticized Taylor on Wednesday after both fighters won semifinal bouts, saying her Irish foe gets star treatment from referees and judges.