Sunday 20 January 2019

Brilliant news for Katie Taylor as world title unification bout confirmed for St Patrick's weekend

Katie Taylor. Photo: Sportsfile
Katie Taylor. Photo: Sportsfile

Sean McGoldrick

KATIE Taylor has hit the jackpot as the double world champion secured a unification fight against WBO lightweight belt holder Rose Volante from Brazil in Philadelphia on Friday, March 15.

Three belts will be on the line when Taylor steps inside the ring of the 12,000 capacity Liacouras Centre in the city on St Patrick’s weekend.

The Bray fighter will be defending her IBF and WBA 135lb lightweight belts while bidding for the WBO crown, which is regarded as the least prestigious of the four belts in the lightweight division.

Nevertheless, the fight marks another important milestone in Katie’s career as she has repeatedly stated that her primary goal in professional boxing is to unify the lightweight division.

Talks between the Taylor and Volante camps appeared on the brink of breaking down before Christmas when the latter didn’t respond to a 24 hour deadline set by Taylor’s Irish manager, Brian Peters, to accept the deal on the table.

But Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn – whose company foots the bill for the fight – confirmed at tea-time that the fight was back on track.

"I’m over the moon to confirm contracts are signed for @KatieTaylor to unify against WBO champ Rose Volante on our big Paddy’s day weekend show in Philly in March. Full card announced soon - the road to undisputed is on," declared Matchroom boss Hearn in a tweet.

In reply Katie – who is currently enjoying a break in Ireland – simply said "Let’s go".

The announcement comes less than 24 hours after Taylor’s career received a significant boost when BoxRec, the sport’s official record keeper, announced that they now rate her as the best pound for pound female professional boxer in the world.

The fight will be the chief support contest on a bill which may include some of Ireland’s leading professional fighters, including Spike O’Sullivan, Jono Carroll, Jason Quigley, Niall Kennedy, John Joe Nevin and the McKenna brothers from Monaghan, who are based in LA.

Delfine Persoon, who holds the WBC version of the lightweight belt, will defend it in her native Belgium on March 9 against Haitian-American challenger Melissa St Vil.

Thirty-six year old Rose Volante, known as ‘Queen Rose’ in the ring, is unbeaten in the professional ranks, winning 14 fights, eight inside the distance.

She has held the world belt since December 2017, winning it in her only fight outside her native country.

But she has never faced an opponent of Taylor’s calibre before. However, she will earn the biggest purse of her professional career in March while Taylor’s pay cheque could be the region of $250,000, confirming her status as the highest paid female professional boxer in the world.

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