UNDISPUTED LIGHTWEIGHT BOXING champion Katie Taylor has been named RTÉ Sportsperson of the Year for 2020, a year during which she settled her rivalry with Belgian powerhouse Delfine Persoon and successfully headlined a momentous female world-title tripleheader live on Sky Sports against Miriam Gutierrez.
Elsewhere, the Young Sportsperson of the Year gong went to Oisin OCallaghan after claiming a first ever downhill gold for Ireland at the Junior World Mountain Bike Championships in Austria. It was OCallaghans first ever race at that level. The 17-year-old followed up his win in Austria with two stage wins at the recently held World Cup competition in Portugal. 
The Limerick senior hurling team won the Team of the Year award after their All-Ireland hurling success, while their manager John Kiely won the Manager of the Year award. 
Taylor edged out cyclist Sam Bennett, jockey Colin Keane, Dublin footballer Ciaran Kilkenny, Limerick hurler Gearóid Hegarty, and rower Sanita Puspure, and in doing so became just the fourth ever athlete to win RTÉs flagship sports award on more than one occasion (after Sonia OSullivan x5, Padraig Harrington x3 and Rory McIlroy x2).
Tonights honour follows Taylors second successive crowning as Female Fighter of the Year by both the Ring Magazine and the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA), whose end-of-year awards are widely recognised as the most prestigious in her profession.
Taylor is also ranked by both boxing institutions as the pound-for-pound number-one female fighter on the planet following a pandemic-hit but still-glittering career year.
Katie Taylor and RTÉ’s Darragh Maloney.
Source: Andres Poveda
In August, she again warred with nemesis Persoon in a long-awaited and sensational rematch at Matchrooms Fight Camp, winning a close but deserved unanimous decision just over a year after she contentiously edged out the formerly long-reigning WBC lightweight champion on a narrower, majority-decision verdict.
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Taylors rematch victory over Persoon was chosen as the most memorable Irish sporting moment of 2020 with 32% of the vote in the annual Teneo Sport and Sponsorship index, a comprehensive 1,000-person national survey whose results were released on Tuesday, followed by Sam Bennetts green-jersey win at the Tour de France (15%).
In November, the former Olympic champion became the main-event attraction for the first time in a Saturday-night primetime slot on Sky Sports, dominating the teak-tough Gutierrez in a mandatory defence. Though the Spaniard was written off as being an unworthy opponent by some post-fight detractors, she had in fact been boxing competitively for 21 years, winning four Spanish Elite titles in two weight categories as an amateur before turning pro a year after Taylor in 2017. Guiterrez was made to look like a novice, however, by the Bray woman, who produced an exquisite offensive performance to seal a near shutout win on the scorecards and improve her record to 17-0(6KOs).
The Taylor-Gutierrez bout and its supporting Matchroom card including two other female world-title fights were made available to watch for free on Sky Sports Mix and Skys online platforms. The broadcast was viewed well over two million times in total, with 600,000 of those tuning in on television in Ireland and Britain in what was a major breakthrough for womens professional boxing.
Taylor was later nominated for the BBCs World Sports Star award for 2020, which was eventually won by undefeated mixed martial artist Khabib Nurmagomedov.
The all-time boxing great is now one of the highest-earning female athletes on the planet. Her 2020 rematch with Persoon alone was understood by The42 to be worth somewhere in the region of 1.5m to Taylor, who along with her seven-figure fight purse pocketed a significant share of the Sky Sports Box Office pay-per-view revenue in Ireland.
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Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud