Katie Taylor revealed her family are Leeds United fans as she prepares to fight in the city this weekend as the undisputed lightweight champion will face Jennifer Han.
But it was Manchester United legend Roy Keane who lifted the boxer when she was at her lowest point.
Irish boxer Taylor won gold at London 2012 and suffered a shock defeat at the quarter-finals in Rio 2016 in her attempts to defend her title.
A surprise call from Keane came following that defeat.
“When I lost in the Rio Olympics, the first phone call I got was actually from Roy Keane,” Taylor told the Daily Mail in an interview in 2019.
“He said, ‘keep your head up’. And he was very, very positive and that really does make my heart so happy.
“He went out of his way, and it meant so much to me that one of my heroes, someone who I really looked up to as a child, gave me a call at the lowest point of my career.
“They’re the things you don’t see. He has a great heart. And he’s someone who doesn’t look for any limelight for those sorts of things. It was just out of the goodness of his heart.”
Taylor will defend her world titles against Han at Headingley on Saturday night in a city she knows very well.
The 18-0 fighter is looking forward to fighting in front of a large crowd for the first time since before the coronavirus pandemic.
Taylor said: “I’m really excited about it actually. This is actually the first time I’ve fought in front of a live crowd.
“To have a chance of actually fighting at Leeds, my father is actually a proud Leeds fan, so to have a chance of fighting here.
“My best memories as a kid is actually visiting this city and going to Elland Road and watching a Leeds United game.
“To actually have a chance to fight here is very, very special for me.”
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