Colin Farrell puts Katie Taylor alongside Conor McGregor and Barry McGuigan after world title win
By Tim Hobbs in Cardiff
Last Updated: 29/10/17 4:24pm
Colin Farrell hailed Irish compatriot Katie Taylor as an international hero after she was crowned world champion.
The actor was ringside in the Principality Stadium, Cardiff, to witness the Bray fighter pick up the vacant WBA lightweight world title by beating former holder Anahi Sanchez on a unanimous decision.
Farrell met the 31-year-old for the first time before the fight but put her in the same bracket as Irish sporting icons Conor McGregor, Barry McGuigan and Steve Collins, after Taylor joined Anthony Joshua by adding a professional world title to her London 2012 gold medal.
"She was already a national hero - she probably would be in any country in the world," he told Sky Sports.
What she's achieved is like what McGregor has achieved, or McGuigan or Steve Collins have achieved. Like them, she is more than a national hero.
"Obviously for ourselves, an island country with a population of just over 4 million, but this goes into England, because this is a sporting achievement that goes beyond the boundaries of our country and goes into the international world.
"What she's achieved is like what McGregor has achieved, or McGuigan or Steve Collins have achieved. Like them, she is more than a national hero. It's just incredible."
Farrell admits Taylor's stature in Ireland means, like most, he has followed her rise through the amateurs, winning five World Championships and six European Championships as well as becoming the first female lightweight Olympic champion in 2012.
The 10-round fight was the first time the Hollywood star had sat ringside to see Taylor in action and the actor was left in awe of the 31-year-old's achievement and performance.
"It's been a long road for her, as it is for all fighters to get to the level she's at, but to step up to the plate and fight an incredibly, incredibly strong-hearted and physically strong fighter such as Sanchez, was really tough.
"She had to earn everything she got tonight and she thoroughly deserved it.
"We've watched her every step of the way. Anything can happen in a ring, it's a dangerous sport and your life is genuinely on the line, but she has come through the ranks, has moved on from an amateur and she loves to fight.
"I don't know how people like getting hit but there are fighters that do like it because it wakes them up - Arturo Gatti was one of them. The more you'd hit Gatti the more trouble you'd be in!
"I was delighted and as proud to be here to see her become a world champion."