By: Hans Themistode
One of the very best women boxers in the world will return to the ring on November 2nd, at the O2 arena, in Manchester, England. She’ll be at the top of the billing on a card that will feature Joshua Buatsi, Anthony Crolla and a host of others.
The last time Taylor was seen in the ring, she was winning a hard fought but controversial decision against Delfine Persoon. It was a rougher than expected contest as Persoon had every reason to believe that she had done enough to win that contest.
Persoon successfully roughed Taylor up throughout the contest and made it as ugly as possible. Taylor seemed to have a difficult time adjusting to the physicality of Persoon. Still, Taylor managed to box her way to a decision.
The win for Taylor gave her the WBC Lightweight title which was the last belt at the weight class, making her an undisputed champion at the weight. Now that she has captured the last piece of the championship puzzle, she is looking for an even bigger challenge as she will be moving up in weight to take on WBO Super Lightweight champion Christina Linardatou.
“It’s a new challenge at a new weight and something I’m really excited about,” said Taylor. “I still feel like I have so much left to achieve in the sport and becoming a two-weight world champion is one of those goals.”
As for her opponent, Linardatou hasn’t lost a contest since 2016. Since then she has won four fights in a row and will be facing the biggest match of her career. Don’t expect the pressure of the moment to get to Linardatou.
“I plan on leaving England with my title,” said Taylor. “If I need to knock Katie Taylor out in order to retain the title, that’s what I’ll do.”
The move up in weight will have many fearing that a future contest against seven division champion Amanda Serrano is now unlikely. Taylor assured everyone that her plan isn’t to simply campaign at Super Lightweight.
“There are still so many huge fights out there for me like the Amanda Serrano fight, a rematch with Delfine Persoon and a fight with Cecilia Brækhus but the first goal is November 2 and winning another world title. I don’t have any issues making lightweight so I think I can move comfortably between the two weights. I always want to push myself and Christina is an excellent world champion, so it will be a big test for me.”
Taylor and Linardatou seem highly motivated to put on a show but it will be another fighter on the card who will receive most of the attention.
Former champion Anthony Crolla will step into the ring for one final time. It’s been a long and successful 13 year career for Crolla which first started in Manchester England. He has managed to win his fair of big fights including against Ismael Barroso, Ricky Burns and a championship winning effort against Darleys Perez. His career is now coming full circle as it will officially come to an end in the same place that it started 13 years ago.
By: Shane Willoughby
Whilst all eyes are on Anthony Joshua this Saturday who is defending his titles at Madison Square Gardens, Katie Taylor can make history on the undercard.
Katie Taylor (13-0) has the opportunity to become the first Irish undisputed champion – male or female, with a victory over Delfine Persoon (43-1).
Like AJ, Taylor is the IBF, WBO and WBA champion and will be facing the number 1 lightweight in the world for her WBC crown.
The Brit has an amazing career undefeated in 13 fights but will have a tough task trying to dethrone Persoon who has held the title since 2014 and has won 34 consecutive fights.
Either fighter will be making history with a victory, as there has never been a Lightweight in the sport to hold all four versions of a world title at the same time.
Female boxing is on the rise and 2019 has already seen Claressa Shields headline an event and become Undisputed champion at middleweight. The winner of Persoon and Taylor will be 1 of 3 undisputed champions currently in women’s boxing.
Maybe the men might need to take a leaf from the women. Boxing fans around the world having been begging for the best to fight the best but to no avail. Women’s boxing is absent of all the politics that has diseased and contaminated the men’s game.
Unfortunately, in any other world an undisputed fight will be mainstream media and getting a great deal of coverage. Britain’s first undisputed champion since Lennox Lewis.
But when Anthony Joshua is fighting, it’s no surprise that the undercard fighters are left in the shadows, neglected and starving from any form of attention.
However, when AJ is expected to receive $30 million, DAZN and matchroom must not have much money left in the pot to promote anyone else.
By: Sean Crose
Heavyweight kingpin Anthony Joshua won’t be the only fighter of note stepping in between the ropes at Madison Square Garden on June 1st. Although the British multi-titlist will be making his American debut that night against the entertaining Andy Ruiz, another acclaimed titlist will be fighting on the card, as well. For Ireland’s Katie Taylor will be facing Delfine Persoon for the undisputed women’s lightweight championship of the world. The 13-0 Taylor currently holds the WBO, IBF, and WBA titles, while Persoon has held the WBC belt for over five years. Their match is scheduled for ten rounds.
“It’s great,” says Taylor, “to have the opportunity to have the chance to become the undisputed champion…every day in camp has been 100% focused on the task at hand so I won’t sit back and think about it until I’ve actually achieved it as that’s what I am like.” Taylor is also excited to return to Madison Square Garden, where she last fought in December. “The chance to fight for the four World titles and the Ring Magazine belt at the Mecca of boxing, MSG,” says Taylor, “I don’t think you could write a better script, it’s an absolute dream. Persoon is recognized as one of the best in the world pound-for-pound and has been the WBC champ now for over five years so it’s the best against the best. This is huge for women’s boxing.”
In Persoon, Taylor is facing a 43-1 champion with one of the most impressive records in the sport. “I think it’s going to be a really hard fight,” Taylor claims. “I’ve watched clips of her and she’s very tall and awkward, she punches non-stop for the ten rounds and I think it’s going to be a very physical fight. It’s a huge challenge but the one that I’ve wanted. She’ll bring the best out of me as I have the utmost respect for her and we’re going to lay it all on the line and may the best girl win. The famous green belt and the Ring Magazine belts being on the line is just amazing.”
This will be Taylor’s fifth fight in a single year – an oddity in today’s fight boxing world, where top fighters rarely step into the ring more than once or twice. As for Persoon, it will be the Belgian titlist’s fourth fight – again, an oddity in today’s fight game.
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.
By: Sean Crose
The last time 11-0 IBF and WBA world lightweight women’s champion Katie Taylor stepped inside the ring, it was last fall at Boston’s TD Center. Her opponent? The popular and well regarded Cindy Serrano. Some felt Taylor might have trouble on her hands with Serrano. They felt wrong. Taylor won the bout in such lopsided fashion that the Irishwoman herself even appeared frustrated at Serrano’s lack of ability and/or ambition. This Saturday, Taylor will have an new opponent – and a new venue. For Taylor will be facing off against the 22-0-1 Eva Wahlstrom at Madison Square Garden as part of the undercard for the Canelo Alarez- Rocky Fielding super middleweight title throwdown.
Promoter Matchroom Boxing describes Ireland’s Taylor as “an amateur star in the Emerald Isle with an Olympic gold medal added to five World championships and six European golds.” Matchroom adds that Taylor “is hunting unification bouts at 135lbs in 2019, but in unbeaten Finn Wahlstrom, the 32 year old faces the stiffest test of her pro career.” Wahlstrom certainly isn’t any old fighter. Matchroom claims the Helsinki, Finland native “is aiming to become a two-weight World champion…the long-reigning WBC Super-Featherweight champion steps up to Lightweight to achieve that goal on December 15.”
Strangely enough, the two women fought in the amateurs almost fifteen years ago, so there’s a bit of familiarity at play here. “Eva,” says Taylor, “is someone I know very well from our time in the amateurs. I was actually drawn against her in my very first international competition back in 2004 and it seemed like every time I turned up to a major competition after that she was in the draw!.” Taylor clearly respects her undefeated opponent. “She was always a really tough opponent,” says Taylor, “so it’s no surprise that she’s gone on to have a great professional career. I think this fight will really showcase the best that women’s boxing has to offer and I’m really looking forward to it.”
“I have stated for a longest time,” Wahlstrom states, “that I am ready and I want to engage in toughest fights available. This is the ultimate, biggest and toughest fight anywhere and to have it in the legendary Madison Square Garden is a huge honor.” Like Taylor, Wahlstrom remembers the past she has shared with this weekend’s opponent. “I lost to Katie few times in amateur days,” she says, “but I am sure I won her respect anyway. Now in a 10-round pro fight, it will be totally different game with all new avenues to avenge those defeats.”
The fight, which will be aired on the DAZN streaming service – along with the entire card – has the approval of Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn. “This is an amazing opportunity,” he says, “for Katie to fight at MSG. This is by far the toughest fight of her career so far and hugely important moving into 2019.”
“There will,” claims Hearn, “be great Irish support in New York and she (Taylor) adds even more superstar status to this brilliant night of boxing on DAZN.”
By: Sean Crose
“I’m so excited about this fight. The fact it’s in Boston means it’s going to be like a home from home for me in there with all the Irish support.” These words, which come from the mouth of Ireland’s Katie Taylor, the women’s WBA and IBF lightweight titlist, make one thing clear – she’s looking forward to facing the 27-5-3 Cindy Serrano at Boston’s TD Center Saturday night on the undercard of the Demtrius Andrade – Walter Kautondokwa middleweight title bout. This weekend will mark the 10-0 Taylor’s third fight stateside and will be aired live via DAZN streaming service.
Photo Credit: Katie Taylor Twitter Account
Taylor is quick to credit promoter Eddie Hearn with a good portion of her success. “Eddie was as excited as me about the future,” she says, “and now I have the chance to be a part of the new venture with DAZN too which is great for me.” The former Olympic Gold medalist isn’t one to rest upon her laurels. “I am developing a fan base in the US as well as back home in Ireland and the UK,” she claims. “It’s such an exciting time for me and I am loving the pro game.”
Things have clearly gone well for Taylor since she turned pro back in 2016. “I love fighting in the US and this is a really big fight with a big name on a huge platform in Boston and on DAZN,” she says. “These are the kinds of fights that I am in the sport for.” Fighting in Boston, with its huge Irish American population, will unquestionably give the 32-year-old a boost.
As Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing states: “Katie Taylor believes another show-stealing performance in her WBA and IBF World Lightweight title defense against Cindy Serrano at the TD
Garden on Saturday night, live on DAZN can make her become a household name in Boston.”
Things haven’t always been easy on Taylor. A documentary, “Katie” details the fighter’s struggles both in the ring and with her family. With that in mind, the fighter has been able to forge herself a perfect record in the nearly two years since turning pro and has no intention of letting up as she watches her star begin to rise. Serrano, however, clearly has other plans. The Brooklyn based fighter hasn’t lost since 2012. She’s also the sister of noted champion Amanda Serrano, owner of the WBO women’s super-lightweight title.
by B.A. Cass
After beating Jessica McCaskill, Katie Taylor was criticized by Mike Costello and Steve Bruce of the BBC for what they viewed as a spotty performance. They were both unimpressed by her defensive skills and felt that she lacked ring intelligence.
The worst round for Taylor in her fight against McCaskill was the sixth. In that round, McCaskill landed a jab to the face that seemed to make Taylor wobble in place. It shouldn’t surprise anyone when a boxer gets hit in the face. But for a second, it looked like McCaskill might just stagger the great Irish Olympian and perhaps end up surprising the world.
However, McCaskill was unable to capitalize on her single moment of dominance. And what Taylor’s critics missed in this exchange is how Taylor was able to recover. Deftly slipping McCaskill’s subsequent punches, Taylor quickly moved out of range.
No one with any sense would argue that Taylor’s performance against McCaskill was flawless, but we must remember that this was her sixth fight of 2017. Since her professional debut just thirteen months ago, Taylor has fought a total of eight times, for a total of 52 rounds. Taylor’s second professional fight took place just three weeks after her first. The longest span of time between fights was three months.
Having forced Jasmine Clarkson, a younger fighter by nine years, to retire after just the third round, Taylor went onto to face the more professionally accomplished Anahi Esther Sanchez. After flooring Sanchez in the second round, Taylor defeated Sanchez by UD, a win that made Taylor the WBA World Lightweight Champion.
Taylor admitted that she got a bit wild in her recent fights, abandoning her hit-and-move strategy to engage with opponents at close range. Although never letting her heart reign too much, Taylor fights with passion. She steps into the ring to fight, not just to win by points.
As an amateur, Taylor was known for her hand speed, but her power has come as a surprise to many. Perhaps that’s because she doesn’t talk or look like a fighter. Outside of the ring, Taylor has a gentle manner and resembles one of those cartoons with pin dot eyes, a look that makes her seem far too innocent to be dangerous.
But we’ve seen her overwhelm her opponents in the ring, and there is no doubt she can fight. If the worst that can be said of Taylor is that she has some room for improvement, then it’s fair to say that she’s had a remarkable year.
Follow B.A. Cass on Twitter @WiththePunch
By: Ste Rowen
Despite the late change of opponent, the biggest draw on Saturday night remains the main event, with Anthony Joshua taking on Carlos Takam for the WBA, IBF and IBO Heavyweight World title belts. However, hidden gems may lie in the undercard.
Photo Credit: Esther Lin/Showtime
Yafai v Ishida
Chief support to Joshua’s bout sees WBA Super Flyweight Champion Khalid Yafai take on Sho Ishida in his second title defence. Kal (22-0-0 14KOs) won the vacant WBA belt back in December 2016 from Luis Concepcion, who’d come in over the limit in two attempts at the scales, meaning the only Yafai could win the belt. Then in May this year Kal got his first defence in the bank when he dominated Suguru Muranaka. Yafai was mightily impressive in both bouts, scoring legitimately wide scorecards. He’ll be hoping that this is the stepping stone fight to being included on HBO’s ‘SuperFly 2’ in early 2018. His opponent Sho Ishida’s record is good on paper, 24-0-0 (13KOs) however that does include six debutants including his last two bouts in which Ishida stopped first timers Patiphon Saithonggym and Phetnamnung Sisaketphattana in rounds three and two respectively. This will also be Sho’s first fight outside of Japan, he’ll be hoping to upset the Brit’s party and join his countryman, Naoyo Inoue at the top table of the Superfly division.
Whyte v Helenius
Dillian Whyte (21-1-0 16KOs) is looking to turn up the heat on the current Heavyweight belt holders when he goes up against Robert Helenius. In his most recent outing Whyte made quick work of Malcolm Tann on the undercard of Crawford v Indongo in Nebraska. Though sloppy at times, he made sure his keep-busy fight didn’t last long, dropping Tann for a third time with a body shot in the third round. A stark contrast from his split decision win previous to that, when he fought in a Fight of the Year contender, going all twelve in a heavyweight war against Dereck Chisora. His opponent, Robert Helenius (25-1-0 16KOs) was once the man to beat in the European Heavyweight scene. A sparring partner of Anthony Joshua’s leading up to the Klitschko fight, Helenius was racking up victories including a controversial decision over Chisora in 2011 and knocking out an unbeaten Gregory Tony in 2010. His steady rise took a big hit in 2016 though when he was knocked clean out by a big 1-2 from Johann Duhaupas. He’s on a three-fight win streak and will be looking to take Whyte’s status as a number one contender for the belts.
Sanchez v Taylor
Katie Taylor (6-0-0 4KOs) fights for her first world title in just her seventh fight when she takes on Anahi Esther Sanchez for the WBA Lightweight belt. It will be Taylor’s second schedule ten round fight, in her second stadium fight, and the omens are good because in that ten-rounder at Wembley Stadium last April, Taylor continued to show her class when she dispatched of unbeaten Nina Meinke in the seventh. In her one fight since, the Irishwoman beat up Jasmine Clarkson for three rounds before the American’s cornerman pulled her out. Anahi Esther Sanchez, as expected should represent Taylor’s biggest challenge yet. Sanchez (17-2-0 9KOs) has previously held a world title when she won the IBF Super Featherweight belt in March 2016. She’s also fought and lost twice in world title fights. Once in December 2016 via a unanimous decision to Nina Wahlstrom for the WBC Super Feather title and again in May this year, when she was given two standing counts and eventually stopped in the fourth for her old IBF title. She bounced back quickly, and in her second fight at the 135lb limit, stopped Cecilia Sofia Mena for the WBA belt, that will be on the line this Saturday.
Cult hero Dave ‘White Rhino’ Allen (12-3-1 9KOs) was looking to exact revenge on Commonwealth Champion, Lenroy Thomas when the two were set to meet for the second time on Saturday night for an immediate rematch of their May 2017 split decision. However, the Jamaican has pulled out due to a virus. Allen is expected to remain on the undercard in a six round keep busy fight before going again for the British and Commonwealth belts.
Buglioni v Richards
Another late change to Saturday’s card sees British Light Heavyweight Champion, Frank ‘Wise Guy’ Buglioni take on Craig ‘Spider’ Richards. Buglioni (20-2-1 15KOs) was due to fight Callum Johnson in a mandated bout but Johnson withdrew last week, leaving the door open for Craig Richards (9-0-0 3KOs), who has been campaigning mainly at Super Middleweight up to this point.
Three of Matchroom’s 2016 Olympic signings will also be on the card. Cruiserweight Lawrence Okolie (5-0-0 4KOs), taken the distance for the first time in his last fight with Blaise Mendouo. Super Featherweight and Welshman Joe Cordina (4-0-0 4KOs) fighting in Wales for the first time in his pro career. And Light Heavyweight Joshua Buatsi (2-0-0 2KOs) a bronze medallist in Rio, and arguably Britain’s most highly thought of from the class of 2016.
The Ladies take the Ring: Claressa Shields seeks another Gold; Katie Taylor is upset by Finland’s Potkonen
By: Matthew N. Becher
The Women began fighting on Friday in three weight classes. The higher seeds mostly did what was predicted, with the biggest upset coming this morning when defending 60kg Lightweight Gold Medalist Katie Taylor, of Ireland, was defeated 2-1 by Finland’s Mira Potkonen.
The next biggest fighter of the sport, American, Claressa Shields has been patiently waiting for her first fight as a #1 seed. She will take on Russian Iaroslava Iakushina on Wednesday.
Some things to remember in Women’s boxing. This is only the 2nd Olympics with the Women boxing in the games. There are not as many participants as the men, yet. Most of the top seeds have a direct spot, straight to the quarterfinals. Once more countries start competing, the rounds will expand. Also, the Women still wear headgear. This is the first time the men have gotten rid of the headgear in over 25 years. So we’ll see what happens as far as the Women go.
Here is how the other weight classes are stacking up so far.
On Friday, the Flyweights kicked things off, with Tetyano Kob of Ukraine, Mandy Bujold of Canada, Ingrit Valencia Victoria of Columbia and Sara Ourahmoune of France all advancing to the Quarter finals.
They will all compete tomorrow for a spot in the medal rounds.
The favorites in this division are Nicola Adams of Great Britain, Ren Cancan of China, Peamwilai Laopeam of Thailand and Zhaina Shekerbekova of Kazakhstan.
The Lightweights also started last Friday with Mira Potkonen of Finland narrowly defeating the local Brazilian Adriana Araujo. Also advancing to today’s Quarterfinals were Chinas Junhua Yin, Mikaela Mayer of the United States and Italy’s Irma Testa.
So far, Mira Potkonen upset the reigning champion Katie Taylor of Ireland. While Junhua Yin also upset Yana Alekseevna of Azerbaijan to advance to the Medal rounds.
Later this afternoon, Irma Testa of Italy will match up against Estelle Mossely of France. And the fight to watch will be against Mayer of the US, as she squares up against Anastasiia Beliakova of Russia.
The Middleweights began their competition yesterday. Advancing were Iaroslava Iakushina of Russia, Dariga Shamikova of Kazakstan, Andreia Bandeira of Brazil and Savannah Marshall of Great Britain.
The division will continue on Wednesday with the Golden Girl Claressa Shields taking on the Russian Iakushina for a chance at history, with Shields vying to become a two time Olympic Gold Medalist.
Also fighting on Wednesday are Shakimova v. Khadija Mardi of Morocco, Bandeira of Brazil v. LI Qian of China and Marshall of Great Britain v. Nouchka Fontijn of The Netherlands.