Tuesday 26 September 2017

Taylor hoping to follow Conlan's path with Stateside bout

Ireland's Katie Taylor. Photo: Octavian Cocolos/INPHO
Ireland's Katie Taylor. Photo: Octavian Cocolos/INPHO

Ciarán Gallagher

Katie Taylor is itching to make her US ring debut this summer after watching Michael Conlan take over New York last weekend.

Taylor fights for the fourth time as a professional tomorrow, with the 30-year-old set to meet Bulgarian Milena Koleva in the Manchester Arena on the undercard of a world lightweight title clash between Anthony Crolla and Jorge Linares.

That bout will be the Bray woman's first eight-rounder before her quick-fire schedule takes her to Wembley on April 29, while promoter Eddie Hearn already has a summer ring outing in the United States pencilled in for later this year.

After seeing former amateur team-mate Conlan attract a wild Irish sell-out crowd of over 5,000 to Madison Square Garden's Theater last Friday night for his stoppage win over Tim Ibarra, former Olympic champion Taylor is now keen to get a taste of a big US fight night.

"I watched Michael's fight on RTÉ the next day, it was fantastic. The atmosphere looked brilliant - what a debut," said Taylor.

"I was travelling on Paddy's Day so we got back on the 18th," explained the 30-year-old.

"I wasn't able to watch it live, but the minute I got off the plane I was looking up the results and it was great that they were showing it the next evening.

"It was pretty insane for him to have his debut at Madison Square Garden, Conor McGregor walking him into the ring in front of a huge crowd on Paddy's Day - it was absolutely incredible to watch."

While promotional politics scuppered plans to fight on the following night's New York card headlined by Gennady Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs, Taylor is expected to fight Stateside in the summer.

"Yeah, definitely that would be incredible," said the Bray woman.

"I suppose I had a bit of a taste for a big event like that from boxing at the London Olympics in the final, but it would be great to box in an iconic venue in the States."

For now, she is staying focused on her immediate schedule and two English ring dates in the space of the next five weeks.

"I feel in great shape and obviously the opponent is a good step up as well and it's a good eight-rounder. I'm very excited about that and excited to put on a good show at the weekend."

Koleva competed for the IBF world female super-featherweight title in her last bout, which took place in France, losing out to home fighter Maiva Hamadouche in the ninth round.

Koleva, who carries a 9-7-1 record, had originally been lined up to fight Taylor earlier this month before illness forced her to pull out of that London date, with Taylor stopping replacement opponent Monica Gentlili in five rounds.

The Bulgarian's title-fight disappointment marred her only stoppage loss out of seven defeats, but Taylor says she is expecting a decent challenge.

Taylor's bout is expected to feature live on Sky Sports 1 (7pm) ahead of the world-title rematch between Crolla and Linares.

Irish Independent

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