By Tom Degun

Katie Taylor awardDecember 25 - Irish boxing's golden girl Katie Taylor saw her phenomenal year end in perfect fashion after she was crowned The 2012 Irish Times/Irish Sports Council Sportswoman of the Year and the RTÉ Sports Person of the Year (pictured).

The 26-year-old from County Wicklow has long been the dominant force in women's boxing but she gained superstar status at London 2012 when she became the first ever female lightweight Olympic champion in history as she defeated Russia's Sofya Ochigava 10-8 in the gold medal bout at ExCeL.

The Olympic gold medal was the latest title in a long list for Taylor as she is a four-time world champion and a five-time European champion.

The Olympic triumph has seen Taylor picked up numerous awards with the 2012 Irish Times/Irish Sports Council 'Sportswoman of the Year and the RTÉ Sports Person of the Year becoming the latest editions to her overflowing trophy cabinet.

"I'm honoured and delighted to be named the Irish Times/Irish Sports Council Sportswoman of the Year," said Taylor after picking up the first of the two awards.

"This has been an amazing year for me and for Irish women in sport and I would like to congratulate all the finalists in their respective fields who have excelled at major sporting events such as the 2012 London Olympics, the All-Ireland Finals and The Grand National.

"The other finalists such as Bethany Firth, Katie Walsh, Annalise Murphy, Fionnuala Britton, Stephanie Meadow and Rena Buckley have all played a part in gaining much needed recognition for females in sports.

"It is wonderful to have an award like this as it recognises Irish Sports women and the amazing achievements that have brought us all here today."
Katie Taylor with Irish flag after winning London 2012 medalKatie Taylor became an international superstar after winning gold in the lightweight category at London 2012

Taylor added that she was also "honoured" to pick up the RTÉ Sports Person of the Year.

The Irish boxer has already confirmed her intention to stay on to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games where she will be looking to defend her title.

The news is a major boost to Ireland and also for women's boxing in general as Taylor is now one of the most recognisable female fighters in the world.

Taylor is already scheduled to fight twice in Dublin early next year, with tickets for her first bout at the 2,100-seater Bord Gáis Energy Theatre on February 24 already sold out.

The second fight will be at the same venue on March 22 and demand is expected to be equally high in what is being dubbed Taylor's "Road to Rio" tour.

Her global appeal was underlined when she was named as the International Boxing Association (AIBA) Women's Boxing Ambassador earlier this month.

That honoured came shortly after she was named the AIBA Elite Woman Boxer of the Year trophy for the third time.

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