Friday 24 February 2017

Katie Taylor gave her promoter the silent treatment on Saturday night

Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Katie Taylor is declared the winner of her Super-Featherweight fight with Karina Kopinska at Wembley Arena in London, England. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile.
Katie Taylor is declared the winner of her Super-Featherweight fight with Karina Kopinska at Wembley Arena in London, England. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile.

Katie Taylor’s new promoter Eddie Hearn was greeted with stony silence as he entered her dressing room for a final exchange ahead of her professional debut at Wembley on Saturday night.

Hearn has a tradition of giving his fighters a final message of support before they get down to business, but he admits his exchange with Taylor left him a little bemused before she blew away her first opponent Karina Kopinska with a sparkling third round stoppage.

“I went into the dressing room before the fight and I didn’t really know what to say,” says the exuberant promoter, who is noted for filling any empty airspace with his opinions.

“It was a case of me saying to Katie; ‘Alright?’. She just nodded. What do you say next? This is a new fighter for me and all of them are different. Katie doesn’t say much before a fight…I’ve worked that out now.

Katie Taylor celebrates with Promoter Eddie Hearn following her Super-Featherweight fight with Karina Kopinska at Wembley Arena in London, England. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Katie Taylor celebrates with Promoter Eddie Hearn following her Super-Featherweight fight with Karina Kopinska at Wembley Arena in London, England. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

“She is all business, all serious. I have said that these first two fights are so important to get the right start and honestly, I couldn’t be happier with how it went in the first one. Even if I wrote the script for this, it wouldn’t have been this good.

“The pressure for Katie was not just getting the win. The pressure was on the style of fighting. She could have gone in there and boxed really nicely for six round behind the jab, everyone would have clapped and then decided; I’m not watching that again.

“But I had a feeling that this is how it was going to be. You only have to watch her on the pads to see a tempo, a rhythm and the style of fighting she brings to this. Katie Taylor is something special.”

Hearn is oozing with excitement for his latest big name signing as he eyes up a rapid rise towards a world title shot for Taylor in Dublin next year, but he is eager to allow the Irish sporting hero to build her reputation in the UK and in a potential fight in America next March before taking her road to her homeland.

“We cannot rely on the Irish support and we need to build up to a big fight in Dublin,” he suggested. “If she wants to change the game, if she wants to knock down barriers, she needs to do it in different markets.

“Manchester on December 10th is going to be huge for her. There were 3,000 people there for her debut, but it is a 21,000 sell-out in Manchester and I will put her really late on the bill now, especially after that performance.

“The week in Manchester will be important because she will be around a massive event and it will be a great experience.”

Hearn also revealed the story behind the striking black and gold kit Taylor wore on her debut, as he ignored he request for a simple outfit and produced an eye-catching outfit featuring a distinctive ‘KT’ logo that appears to be perfect for marketing purposes.

“I said I will pay for her kit because I wanted her to look a million dollars,” added Hearn. “She asked for plain black shorts and I said: ‘How about this!’

“It was a bit of bling. We could market that kit, of course, and I can’t wait to see the interest from brands.

“At the moment, if you are a sportswear brand, you have to be desperate to get on the Katie Taylor train. Completely ground breaking, fantastic image, what a story.

“This is exciting, we have a big TV platform for this show, she will be boxing all over the world. It’s so exciting.”

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