'I have built up more muscle and I’m punching a bit harder' - Katie Taylor fighting fit ahead of three upcoming bouts
KATIE Taylor is ramping up her fledgling professional career with three fights in the next two months.
After a seven-week training camp with new coach Ross Enamait in Vernon, a small town in Connecticut, the London Olympic gold medallist has her third professional fight on Saturday night on the undercard of the sell-out heavyweight clash between David Haye and Tony Bellew in London’s O2 Arena.
On March 25, she is likely to return to the Manchester Arena – where she had her second professional contest late last year – to fight on the undercard of the World lightweight title rematch between Anthony Crollo and Jorge Linares.
A month later she will definitely be on the undercard of the biggest ever show - in terms of attendance - in the history of British boxing when Anthony Joshua defends his World heavyweight title against Wladimir Klitschko in Wembley.
Over 80,000 tickets have been sold for the fight scheduled for April 29 which will be televised live in the United States as well as in the UK.
"I definitely feel in great shape. I feel like I’m boxing better than I have been for a long, long time. I definitely feel a lot stronger and I have built up more muscle as well and I’m punching a bit harder," she said.
On this Saturday’s show, which will be broadcast live on Sky Sport, Taylor faces a shaven headed, multi tattooed 39-year-old Italian lightweight Monica Gentili.
The latter – who is a replacement for Taylor’s original opponent who was ruled out with a chest infection – has had a chequered career since making her pro debut in 2012.
She has won six of her 12 fights – one by knockout and she was knocked out once herself.
All her wins have been achieved on home soil and she lost on the three occasions she fought abroad in Austria, Poland and France.
After losing four bouts on the spin she won her last two in April and October of last year but it would be a major shock if the Bray pugilist does not record her third win in the professional ranks.
In the wake of sluggish performance in her second professional fight she will be bidding to end this contest before the scheduled six rounds have elapsed.
Originally there were tentative plans for Taylor to fight in Madison Square Garden on St Patrick’s weekend.
But the plan ran aground when Top Rank, who is promoting Michael Conlan’s professional debut at the same venue on the same weekend, objected.
Taylor insists that she has got over the disappointment of that missed date pointing out that the fight was never confirmed and her Irish manager Brian Peters confirmed that she is likely to be fighting in the US in the summer.