- 01 Nov 18
Director Ross Whitaker discusses his new documentary about one of Ireland’s most successful and fascinating athletes, Olympic champion Katie Taylor.
In a way, Ross Whitaker was always going to be the director to chart the career of Katie Taylor. The Dubliner is not only one of Ireland’s most accomplished and prolific directors, with a palpable sense of empathy and intelligence running through his work, but he has also made several boxing-related films. He tackled the career of Bernard Dunne during the 2000s; directed When Ali Came To Ireland, looking back at the late icon’s 1972 fight at Croke Park; and his first film Saviours followed the fortunes of three fledgling fighters (it was also a favourite film of Katie Taylor’s).
Before we get into Taylor’s relationship with boxing, where did Whitaker’s own interest in the sport come from?
“One thing I noticed about boxing was that it always has tremendous stories behind it,” says the director. “As a filmmaker, what I always ask myself is ‘What’s at stake for the protagonist?’ And if you think of the people’s backgrounds, there’s a huge amount of pressure for people who box to succeed, because often they feel there aren’t a lot of other avenues for them. Then when you go into the ring, there’s a huge amount at stake. Obviously you can get hurt but also, if you lose a fight, your career can be over.”