Boxing: Katie Taylor begins warm-up for Euro tests
WORLD No 1 Katie Taylor will be aiming to improve to 136 wins from 143 outings in Dublin and Mayo this weekend and put further daylight between herself and a controversial loss.
Taylor meets Ukrainian Yulia Tsiplakova – an opponent she beat 10-2 and 19-4 in the space of 24 hours at Dublin's National Stadium in March, 2010 – at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre in Dublin tonight.
Poland's Magdalena Stelmach, a world silver medalist, faces Taylor's Bray BC team-mate Laoise Traynor on tonight's card, while ex-Irish Elite champions Darren O'Neill and Roy Sheahan clash at middleweight.
Taylor (pictured), who will fly out to Kazakhstan for a training camp with the Irish Elite squad on April 3, then heads to Mayo on Sunday for a four-rounder with Bulgarian lightweight Denica Eliseeva at the Royal Theatre in Castlebar. Eliseeva, who Taylor has hammered three times, is the last woman to have beaten Ireland's Olympic heroine.
She was awarded a controversial win over the Bray woman at the Strandja Multi-Nations final in Bulgaria in 2011.
Eliseeva, the Russian pair of Sofya Ochigava and Yulia Nemtsova, North Korea's Kang Kum Hui and Turkey's Gulsum Tatar are the only boxers to have recorded decisions over Taylor in her career.
Tatar and Taylor have met seven times, the Co Wicklow orthodox winning four. Her losses to Nemtsova and Hui were over seven years ago, while she beat Ochigava in the 2011 and 2012 European, World and Olympic finals.
Meanwhile, the 26-year-old, who will have another two outings against France in Cork and Belfast in May, will be targeting her fifth EU title in a row in Hungary this summer.
"Competitive action is always very important before major tournaments and it's ideal to have two fights in Dublin and Mayo and the upcoming internationals against France," said Taylor.
"I won a European Union title in Hungary a few years ago. But that was then. Some of the best lightweights in Europe will be in Hungary and it will be tough."
Ray Moylette, the current European light-welter champion, has been added to Sunday's card at the Royal Theatre.
Meanwhile, the Boy 4 and Youth 1 & 2 Championships begin at Dublin's National Stadium today.