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By The Associated Press

Monday's Olympics debut of Irish boxer Katie Taylor has transfixed her homeland.

Her 26-15 quarterfinal pummeling of Britain's Natasha Jonas brought thousands to a standstill in shopping malls and other public places. With a semifinal looming Wednesday and the final Thursday, Taylor is considered Ireland's best bet for Olympic gold.

It's no home bias, either. The 26-year-old Taylor is renowned as a hard puncher and is the reigning Irish, European and world champion in the lightweight class, a.k.a. under 60 kilograms (132 pounds).

Global demand by Irish emigrants to see the match proved so great that the live media stream by RTE, the national broadcaster, crashed midway through the four-round bout.

And in the most dramatic show of support, more than 6,000 people traveled from across Ireland to the beachfront of Taylor's hometown south of Dublin, Bray, to watch the fight live on a big-screen TV.

One grandma was seen repeatedly shouting to the TV: "Go on, beat the stuffing outa her!"

Shawn Pogatchnik Twitter


EDITOR'S NOTE "Eyes on London" shows you the Olympics through the eyes of Associated Press journalists across the 2012 Olympic city and around the world. Follow them on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.

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