Katie Taylor: “ Everyone Raises Their Game When They Fight Me”
By: Sean Crose
“This could be a monumental year for me, the biggest of my career both amateur and pro,” says IBF and WBA Lightweight Champ Katie Taylor. “I believe that by the end of the year I can look back at being the undisputed Lightweight champion and have had huge fights with Amanda (Serrano) and Cecilia (Braekhus). They want those fights as well, but I have to keep winning and everyone raises their game when they fight me.” Since turning pro just over two years ago, the Irish fighter has become a sensation in women’s boxing, with some considering the 12-0 Taylor to be the best in the sport.
At the moment, however, Taylor must get by the 14-0 Rose Volante, the WBO lightweight champ.“When I sat down with Eddie Hearn a few years ago,” says Taylor, “and talked about turning pro, the one thing we talked about was to fight 3/4 times a year and he’s never let me down, I’m fighting regularly and they are great fights too. I have the chance to win my third World title belt inside two years as a pro, and I’d love to have four fights again this year, but Rose is the only fight in front of me.”
Which means that, although she’s achieved great success under the guidance of Matchroom honcho Hearn, Taylor realizes she can’t sleep on the undefeated Volante. “Rose is a great champion,” says Taylor. “She’s strong and has a big right hand, she’s undefeated too so she’s a proud fighter and she’s chasing the same prize as me. We want each other’s belts and unbeaten records, but I have had a great camp and I am full of confidence. I think I am getting better and I think it will show on the night. This could be a very physical fight and I am prepared for that.”
An interesting aspect of Taylor’s personality is that she appears to be aware of her limitations, as well as her strengths. “I’m at 135 now,” she says, “and I make the weight very comfortably. I could move up to 140lbs but 147? That could be a stretch but maybe I could make it; but anything past that I am not big enough for – so Welterweight would be my maximum. I couldn’t go down from 135, I love food too much!” Ultimately, however, Taylor is supremely confident.
“My speed is going to be key in these big fights,” she says, “and I think that technically I am better than a lot of the other girls as well. I feel I have a great team around me, the best coach in the world in Ross Enamait, I feel so prepared going into every fight. But each one is harder than the last and I am aware of that, but I have a lot of confidence and belief in myself, I really feel that no-one can beat me.”
The Taylor-Volante bout will go down Friday night at Philadelphia’s Liacouras Center. It will be aired live on the DAZN streaming service.