Saturday 18 August 2018

Hail Katie Taylor - champion of the world

Katie Taylor celebrates victory over Anahi Esther Sanchez last night. Photo: Nick Potts
Katie Taylor celebrates victory over Anahi Esther Sanchez last night. Photo: Nick Potts
Wayne O'Connor

Wayne O'Connor

Katie Taylor is a world champion again, this time in the professional ranks, after she beat Argentina's Anahi Esther Sanchez in Cardiff last night.

In front of a sell-out crowd of 74,000, and a significant Irish contingent in the Principality Stadium, Taylor boxed her way to her first championship title since turning professional a year ago.

The 31-year-old took the WBA world lightweight title in what was only her seventh bout since stepping up from the amateur ranks. The win came in unusual circumstances after her opponent failed to make the required weight before the fight.

Sanchez had previously held the title but was forced to relinquish her belt in the hours before the fight after failing to make the 135lb limit.

Colin Farrell and friend at the fight. Photo: Getty
Colin Farrell and friend at the fight. Photo: Getty

She came in one pound overweight at the official weigh-in on Friday and was still half a pound too heavy when she returned to the scales two hours later. The belt was automatically forfeited but Taylor still had to win last night to secure her first professional title.

The weight issue had overshadowed the run-up to the fight but Taylor was determined not to let it distract her.

"I've completely focused on my performance," she said before the fight. "This is the biggest night of my career."

She stepped into the ring as the clear favourite and quickly showed why. All three judges scored the fight as 99-90 as Taylor claimed her first world professional crown.

"Words can't express how I feel," said Taylor. "I'm just delighted to be world champion."

After the fight Katie's manager Brian Peters said the new champion is likely to defend her world title in Dublin some time next year.

The fight took place on the undercard of the Anthony Joshua v Carlos Takam bout. Joshua is seen as one of the most marketable assets in boxing and a fight on his ticket will have helped Taylor showcase her talents in front of a massive global audience.

Despite being a six-time World Champion in the amateur ranks, and an Olympic Champion, the Bray native insisted this was the biggest night of her career so far.

"Ever since I turned pro, I wanted to fight for a world title. This is the sort of fight that will elevate women's boxing to new heights," she said.

Katie was cheered on to success by a large Irish contingent, including movie star Colin Farrell, who was spotted in the Principality Stadium with a friend.

Sunday Independent

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