When it comes to women’s sport, the ultimate aspiration is for it to match men’s sport.

Whenever the topic of equality is discussed, it’s pondered whether or not women’s sport can be as exciting as men’s, if it can possibly receive the same level of coverage or if female athletes can ever enjoy similar levels of recognition as their male counterparts.

Never, ever is there any mention of surpassing the attention and respect garnered by men’s sport.

But in the past week, it’s been proven that, unequivocally, women’s sport and female athletes can, in the right circumstances, be bigger, more loved and receive greater levels of attention than anything men’s sport or male athletes have had bestowed upon them.

Katie Taylor is the woman who’s proven this.

Last weekend, in one of the biggest fights of the boxing year, Taylor defeated Chantelle Cameron, in the process becoming a two-weight undisputed world champion.

In the aftermath of her victory, it quickly became clear that Taylor was being viewed, in Ireland at least, in a way no Irishman ever has.

To say Taylor is adored in her home country would be an understatement.

She is widely seen as the Ireland’s greatest-ever sportsperson, and this from a nation that’s produced Rory McIlroy, Stephen Roche, Roy Keane and more.

Such an accolade has come on the back of, in addition to becoming a two-weight undisputed champion, winning Olympic gold, five consecutive world amateur titles and six European crowns.

As a professional, she has only been beaten once in 24 fights, has headlined Madison Square Garden and earned the first-ever seven-figure payday in women’s boxing.

It’s hardly surprising, then, that she’s revered.

And in cultivating her fanbase, she’s proven that the claim women’s sport will never be as popular as men’s is an utter myth.

Taylor is, by anyone’s standards, an exceptional athlete. She’s done more for the popularity of women’s boxing than certainly any other European, and arguably anyone else in the world.

Taylor has proven that women’s sport, and women’s boxing in particular – a sport that has suffered from misogyny more than perhaps any other – is worth paying attention to.

And what’s so remarkable about Taylor and her impact on global sport is that she’s done it in such an unassuming way.

Physically, Taylor is unimposing. She’s only 5ft 5in and for last weekend’s fight against Englishwoman Cameron, weighed-in at just under the 140lb, or 10 stone, weight limit.

And her personality could not be further from the brash, mouthy, over-confident morons that swamp men’s boxing.

Taylor, outwardly, is almost excessively modest and has debunked entirely the suggestion that to become a superstar in the world of sport, you need to talk a good game as well as walk a good game.

The 37-year-old refrains from trash talk, from slagging matches and from over-confidence and her reputation is all the better for it.

Within the ring, she’s proven that women’s boxing can be thrilling, captivating and perhaps most importantly, high-quality.

The Herald: Katie Taylor is the undisputed world lightweight champion (Steve Paston/PA)

And out of the ring, she’s remained steadfastly grounded despite her star rising higher than any male athlete in her home country has ever experienced.

Indeed, ahead of last weekend’s bout with Cameron, the chairman of the Boxing Union of Ireland was quoted as calling Taylor not just a special athlete but rather,  “a deity”. Certainly, there is a godliness to the way Taylor is viewed by so many.

She has single-handedly done wonders for women’s boxing but what’s been far more valuable is her ability to prove that women’s sport need not be automatically seen as the inferior partner.

Taylor may not be as physically strong or fast as her male light and super lightweight counterparts but that matters not a jot to the millions who adore her.

She’s shown that female athletes are not here simply as a stick to beat the reputation of women’s sport with.

Yes, Taylor is an exceptional individual, and it could be a generation, or even more, before someone else who possesses all her qualities appears. 

But what she’s shown is that women’s sport and female athletes need not limit their ambition to merely matching men’s sport and male athletes.

No, Taylor has proven that it’s a legitimate goal for female athletes to aim for a standing higher than any man has ever achieved.



If you haven’t already watched the BBC Scotland documentary about Eilish McColgan entitled “Running in the Family” that aired on Thursday evening, go and watch it now.

The show had planned to follow McColgan as she attempted to break her mum, Liz’s, British marathon record, the only British record the younger McColgan has not snatched from her mum so far.

In the end, injury over the course of the year entirely derailed McColgan’s plan to break that record at some point in 2023 but in fact, the programme is riveting for far more than merely the running element of it.

The Herald: Eilish McColgan

Being born to a truly world-class athlete, as Eilish was, is a hard enough act to follow, but even more so when the child then follows in their parent’s footsteps, career-wise, as McColgan has done.

But McColgan, who turned 33 earlier this week, has navigated this incredibly tricky path impeccably not only on the track but off it too.

As well as developing into a world-class runner herself, McColgan has become a genuinely interesting and intelligent person, who gives an enrapturing insight into the world of elite sport in this documentary.

Whether or not you like athletics, McColgan’s personality ensures it’s well worth an hour of your time.