Friday 28 July 2017

Koleva likely to be Taylor's toughest test in pro ranks

On paper, Koleva looks like Taylor's toughest opponent so far. Photo by Lawrence Lustig/Sportsfile
On paper, Koleva looks like Taylor's toughest opponent so far. Photo by Lawrence Lustig/Sportsfile

Seán McGoldrick

Katie Taylor continues her journey towards a shot at a world title in the autumn when she tackles Bulgarian Milena Koleva in the Manchester Arena tonight in a super featherweight contest.

Just three weeks after her fifth-round stoppage win over Italian Monica Gentili at London's O2, the 2012 Olympic gold medallist is aiming for a fourth successive win as a pro.

Now based in Connecticut in the US where she trains under new coach Ross Enamait, the Bray pugilist has made three transatlantic trips in the last month. "It's been a busy time but I'm feeling very good and it's great to have these opportunities," she said.

For the first time, Taylor faces the prospect of facing eight rounds of action but she welcomes the challenge. "If I'm going to be targeting world title fights then I need to be progressing in every fight."

On paper, Koleva - who was due to take on Taylor in London earlier this month but had to withdraw due to a chest infection - looks like her toughest opponent so far. In January, the Bulgarian (28) challenged for the IBF super-featherweight title but was stopped by the formidable Maiva Hamadouch of France in the ninth round.

Overall, though, her record since turning professional in 2008 is decidedly patchy - she has won nine of her 17 bouts - three by knockout. She lost seven and drew one, though she was only stopped once. At yesterday's weigh-in Taylor tipped the scale at a career-high of 134.6lbs. Koleva weighed in at 132lbs.

Elsewhere, Jason Quigley won the vacant North American Boxing Federation middleweight title in Indio, California in the early hours of yesterday morning with a unanimous points win over Glen Tapia to extend his pro record to 13-0.

Taylor v Koleva,

Live, Sky Sports 1, 8.30 approx

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