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'It was an experiment in many ways' - Katie Taylor admits she questioned whether she would be accepted

 

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Katie Taylor has admitted she questioned whether she would be accepted in the pro ranks

Katie Taylor has admitted she questioned whether she would be accepted in the pro ranks

Katie Taylor  talks candidly about her life and career in Ross Whitaker’s film

Katie Taylor talks candidly about her life and career in Ross Whitaker’s film

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Katie Taylor has admitted she questioned whether she would be accepted in the pro ranks

Katie Taylor has admitted she didn't know whether her decision to turn professional in late 2016 would reap rewards, with her own manager Brian Peters and promoter Eddie Hearn sharing those concerns.

Taylor has opened up on her road to world title success in an unbeaten start to her professional career that has changed the face of women's boxing forever.

She may be shy and reserved when she faces the cameras, but Taylor knew she was putting more than her own reputation on the line when she announced her decision to walk away from the amateur ranks and professional ranks.

"When I sat down with my manager in Eddie Hearn's office to talk about turning pro, none of us knew what would happen next," WBA and IBF lightweight world champion Taylor tells Independent.ie.

"Would people take to women's boxing? Did anyone want to see me fighting on a men's boxing bill? Eddie wasn't sure either and it was an experiment in many ways, but now it feels like we have proved this is a part of the sport people want to watch and we want more now.

"That is down to the people around me and Eddie for the way he promotes it. It feels like people are happy to see me as part of this show now and it is amazing when people say they expect to see me on these big shows at Wembley or the 02 Arena in London now. That is an amazing achievement and proof that we have been accepted."

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15 December 2018; Katie Taylor with trainer Ross Enamait, left, manager Brian Peters, and promoter Eddie Hearn, right, after defeating Eva Wahlstrom in their WBA & IBF World Lightweight Championship fight at Madison Square Garden in New York, USA. Photo by Ed Mulholland / Matchroom Boxing USA via Sportsfile

15 December 2018; Katie Taylor with trainer Ross Enamait, left, manager Brian Peters, and promoter Eddie Hearn, right, after defeating Eva Wahlstrom in their WBA & IBF World Lightweight Championship fight at Madison Square Garden in New York, USA. Photo by Ed Mulholland / Matchroom Boxing USA via Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

15 December 2018; Katie Taylor with trainer Ross Enamait, left, manager Brian Peters, and promoter Eddie Hearn, right, after defeating Eva Wahlstrom in their WBA & IBF World Lightweight Championship fight at Madison Square Garden in New York, USA. Photo by Ed Mulholland / Matchroom Boxing USA via Sportsfile
 

The battle for sportswomen to share a stage with their male counterparts has been ongoing for decades, with Taylor seemingly making a more definitive breakthrough than most in that mission.

While she would never want to be portrayed as a heroine of women's sport, she is convinced the tide has turned in the battle for equality.

"I think women sport can share the stage with mens sports, for sure," she states. "We have shown in the last couple of years that women's boxers and female fighters in the UFC are getting a chance to compete on the same events as men and people seem to enjoy what we bring to the table.

"Some of the biggest stars in MMA are female fighters and I hear more and more people saying they expect to see him on Eddie Hearn boxing shows. That is great to hear and shows that people are getting used to this.

"The support I've had from English audiences has been amazing. They have taken me on as one of their own and the roar I get when I come out to fight is amazing.

"Obviously the dream will be fighting at home one day. I can't wait to fight in Dublin, that is going to be amazing. I can't wait for the day it actually happens, but for now I'm happy to be fighting in the UK and America and getting great support everywhere I go."

Taylor's professional career has been carefully steered by her trusted business manager Peters and as he tells us about their working relationship, one quality shines through.

"We don't have a contract with Eddie, I don't have a contract with Katie," he reveals. "These are relationships built on trust and respect and how often do you hear that in the modern world? It is quite unusual, but maybe that is why it works so well.

"The team around Katie is small and we all trust each other and work together. We all know our roles and I will say again, we all trust each other to do the right thing for Katie and what we are trying to do.

"We often look at this as if we are a Formula 1 racing car. Katie is the slick, fast car, I could be the driver and Eddie Hearn owns the track. You need all the parts to work for it be be successful, but the key to all of this is having the perfect athlete and that is what we have in Katie Taylor."

Peters' admiration for Taylor shines through in every word he mutters about his golden girl, with his respect for her work ethic and eagerness to achieve her goals inspiring him to make some bold predictions for 2019.

"People don't realise the hard work that goes into a sporting career like Katie is having," he adds. "To have that consistency, that fortitude, it's just incredible. The grafting, the continuous sacrifice.

"We can all do it for a short period, but to continue to do it for so long is extraordinary and that is why the very best rise to the top. They mix talent and attitude and not everyone can have that. I have no doubt that if Katie said she was talking up tennis and said she wanted to win Wimbledon in three years time, she'd get damn close!

"We will stick to boxing for now though and our aim for 2019 is to be undisputed champion. We have the fight against Rosa Volenta on March 15th in Philadelphia and after that we want to unify the division. Once we are undisputed champion, then we look to new horizons.

"Amanda Serano is a great fight to be made, we'd love to fight Cecilia Braekhus at 147lbs, which would be an amazing showcase for the sport. Braekhus has been a fantastic ambassador for female sport and it would be amazing to have two undisputed champions in the right. It really wouldn't get any better than that.

"Some people out there said we might run out of opponents, but that's nonsense. This incredible Katie Taylor story still has a lot of chapters to be written."

Online Editors