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To win one world title is a rare enough feat among the legions of among the legions of professional boxers struggling for supremacy on the international circuit, but to win four and unify the titles in an entire division? That is as difficult a challenge as exists in pugilism. 

Ireland’s Katie Taylor underlined her status as the premier force in women’s boxing today with a close, majority decision victory against Delphine Persoon last Saturday night in New York City. The 10 round fight was a bruising contest, forcing Taylor to empty her box of tricks against her gritty Belgian opponent; the type of win secured not just inside the ring in Madison Square Garden but the fruits of countless hours of physical preparation in the gym.

So, how exactly does she do it? Hard work. Taylor is known to train six days per week, twice per day with a well-earned day of rest on Sunday.

“In the mornings I could be doing a running session or a weights session or a pads session in my gym in Bray. In the evenings, I am in the ring in the gym sparring and doing technical work as well as punching the bags. The two sessions are very high intensity,” Taylor said to the Independent of her training regime in the past.

“Each session would last around one-and -a-half to two hours. So I am training four hours a day between either bags, cardio or a strength session. We have to do a bit of everything in boxing and every session is very different.”

Session upon session such as this can often lead to mental fatigue, something Katie combats by mixing up her training schedule.

“I have good variety in my training so I try to blend it as much as possible,” she said. “This is very important as it stops you becoming bored and keeps you fresh.”

Sleep, so often an underestimated element to your training, is of utmost importance to Taylor. “It’s important to get your rest in as well, as you need your body to recover as well. On a typical day one should be getting at least eight hours sleep, it’s important to recover well. I go to bed for 11pm and up at 8am. To wind down I do quite a bit of reading and I like watching DVDs, too. I also like going to the cinema.”

As for the fuel she puts into her body, every morsel Taylor eats is designed to provide adequate nutrition to compete at the highest possible level.

“My breakfast would be porridge with Manuka honey and berries,” Taylor explained. “I have three main meals a day which are breakfast, lunch and dinner and then I have snacks in between. The lunch could be chicken and pasta and the dinner would be similar to that with green vegetables. It’s important for me to get a lot of carbohydrates in. I try to have a healthy balance. I don’t have a special diet, I just a try to be very balanced. For snacks, I would have yoghurt and then fruit in between.

“If you’re training a lot I would advise eating a lot of protein as it helps muscles to recover faster and can help muscles go longer.”

Perhaps the advice which would be most beneficial to anyone who isn’t already a world class athlete (which is practically all of us) is to stick to a plan and not get disheartened if you don’t start to see changes in your body immediately — just know that it will come with time and effort.

“To stick it out I would say set yourself goals, realistic ones and don’t be too hard on yourself if it doesn’t happen straight away. You have to be consistent with your training and you definitely will get the results in the end but it’s all about persevering. It would be good to have a tough training partner too, to motivate yourself, as it’s a lot easier when you are training with other people. Another point would be to change your training up, don’t just do the same thing, a bit of cross training, a bit of running and swimming.”