Katie Taylor has acknowledged for the first time that the clock is ticking on her boxing career.
“Obviously I can’t do this forever, I know that,” said the 34-year-old who defends her four World lightweight belts against former Olympic opponent Natasha Jonas in the Manchester Arena on Saturday night.
However, Taylor who will be bidding for her 18th consecutive win since turning professional after the 2016 Olympic Games says she is not yet thinking about retirement.
“Right now, I feel very fresh and quite good. I obviously still love my job as well and that’s what motivates me. I absolutely love this job. I am still not tired of getting up in the morning and doing the roadworks for example," the Bray native said.
“I just want to continue to improve and it would be amazing to become a multi-weight undisputed champion if that’s a possibility. I just want to be involved in the biggest fights possible and I want to continue to tear down those barriers.”
This is only the second time in her five-year professional career that she will trade punches with a southpaw boxer.
“My preparations don’t change much from fight to fight. Obviously, the sparring partners do change, and I’ve sparred some southpaws over the past few months. I did fight a southpaw (Nina Meinke) previously but she was a replacement. So, this is the first time I’ve had proper preparation for a southpaw. I feel in good shape and ready to go,” she said.
Taylor stopped Meinke in the seventh round of their clash at Wembley in April 2017 to win the International WBA lightweight title.
Covid-19 restrictions imposed in Connecticut where she is based have eased considerably in the last couple of months which has facilitated her training.
“Thankfully Connecticut has opened up quite a bit and so it hasn’t been that hard ready to get back into the gym and get in rounds against different sparring partners. It was definitely trickier at the start of the pandemic,” said Taylor.
The Taylor-Jonas fight in the 2012 Olympics is still fondly remembered by Irish boxing fans. It was a special moment for Taylor as well, though she says she can’t remember much about the actual fight itself now.
“I do remember the Irish fans breaking the decibel levels in the arena. It was just a fantastic week for me personally to achieve my childhood dream. I would have no idea that nine years later we would be facing each other again in the pro ring but here we’re are. We obviously have history as amateurs. Facing each other in the pro ring for the first time is very, very exciting.”
Taylor’s success in the ring has changed the perception of women’s professional boxing. The Bray fighter acknowledged that when she made her pro debut in 2016 most people were unaware of women’s pro boxing.
“I’d say it was a bit up in the air in terms of whether it was going to be the real deal or not. Looking back over the past few years we have seen barriers being broken. On every single fight card now, there is probably a huge women’s fight,” she said.
“People are actually excited about these women’s fight now. They are not getting laughed about anymore. They are serious fights that people are actually interested in.
"We have made up some much ground over the last few years. It has been a great time to be involved in the sport,” said Taylor whose own career has been the catalyst for this transformation.