Ireland boxer Taylor retains world title

Ireland's boxing queen Katie Taylor will battle for a historic Olympic gold as the world number one after she claimed her fourth consecutive lightweight title on Saturday.

The 25-year-old star endured a tense 11-7 battle of nerves against Russian Sofya Ochigava at the Women's World Boxing Championships in China to maintain possession of the crown she has worn since 1996.

The world title tops off a glorious week for the Irish fighter after she qualified earlier in the tournament for the 2012 London Games, the first time women's boxing is included in the Olympics.

"It was a tense fight and I had no idea until the end of the bout if I had won because it was that close. It was a game of patience. Sofya is a fantastic boxer and we now have a great rivalry going," she said.

The pair were drawing 4-4 after two rounds but Taylor possessed the tactical edge with her probing jabs.

Meanwhile, China's serial champ Ren Cancan survived an onslaught of left hooks from England's Nicola Adams to take the gold 14-10 in the flyweight final.

"It was a tough fight. I lost before to Nicola but I am satisfied to win here and now I look forward to the Olympics," said the 24-year-old home favourite.

Adams, who also qualified for the Olympics, claimed she was the victim of biased judging.

"I don't think that was the right story at the end. It was the wrong decision but that's boxing for you. To be honest, I believe I won the fight," she said.

Another English fighter, Savannah Marshall, handed herself the perfect 21st birthday present by beating Azerbaijan's Elena Vystropova 17-15 to claim the middleweight crown and will fight as world number one in London.

North Korean Pak Kyong secured gold after overpowering Poland's Magdalena Stelmach 10-5 for light welterweight gold, sending her small army of flag-waving female supporters into raptures.

Light flyweight Josie Gabuco made history for the Philippines by overcoming a vocal crowd in the city of Qinhuangdao to narrowly beat China's Xu Shiqi 10-9.

Eight London places in each of the three Olympic categories -- flyweight, lightweight and middleweight -- have been up for grabs at the Championships.

The qualification process has come in for criticism for weakening the Olympic field.

Twelve of the 36 boxers in London will have come through via a wildcard system introduced by the world boxing association AIBA and the International Olympic Committee intended to showcase fighters from less developed countries.

AIBA president Dr Wu Ching-kuo said the qualification process would be overhauled after London. The wildcards are to be decided just weeks before the games.

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