Boxing: Taylor eyes Euro treble as stepping stone to World bid
KATIE TAYLOR will be aiming for her third European Union title in a row -- and the first of two hat-tricks -- in Keszthely, Hungary, this week.
Taylor, the reigning World and European lightweight champ of Bray Boxing Club, Sinead Kavanagh (Drimnagh BC), Alanna Murphy (East Side BC) and Debbie Rogers, also of Bray BC, have been named on the Irish squad.
Taylor (right) will be targeting her third AIBA World 60kg title on the trot in Barbados next month and her dad and coach, Peter Taylor, reckons that Hungary will be ideal preparation.
"The big one for Katie is the World Championships," he said. "When we come back from Hungary there will only be four weeks to go to that. The important thing for the Irish squad is to get as many bouts as possible in Hungary."
Meanwhile, Andy Lee edged a step closer toward hitting a jackpot after stopping Missouri middleweight James Cook in Oklahoma on Friday.
The Limerick southpaw, who boxes out of the Detroit Kronk, racked up the 22nd win of his career after dropping Cook with a body shot in the fifth round at the Buffalo Run Casino.
The inside-the-distance win keeps Lee ticking over nicely ahead of his fellow Irish middleweight Matthew Macklin's challenge for Darren Barker's European crown in Birmingham next month. If Birmingham-born Macklin, who is managed by Brian Peters, beats Barker then an All-Irish European title showdown between Macklin and Lee will be on the cards.
Elsewhere, Juan Manuel Marquez retained his WBA and WBO lightweight titles with a unanimous decision victory over American Juan Diaz on Saturday before demanding a third fight with Manny Pacquiao.
The Mexican drew with the Filipino in 2004 and suffered a narrow defeat four years later but will hope to come away with a victory if they meet for a third time.
"The trilogy with Pacquiao is what I want," said Marquez, 51-5-1, (37 KOs). "Everybody wants to see it. It's good for all fight fans, for the Mexicans, the Filipinos. Everyone wants to see it. That's the most important fight for me now."