'It will be a dark and rainy night for Katie Taylor' - Anahi Esther Sanchez
WBA lightweight title holder Anahi Esther Sanchez has promised to cause a major upset against former Olympic champion Katie Taylor in their Cardiff showdown tomorrow night.
Argentina's Sanchez defends her world title against Bray native Taylor on the undercard of Anthony Joshua's world heavyweight title defence against Carlos Takam at the Principality Stadium.
The fighters came face to face for the first time yesterday with champion Sanchez insisting that she will make a mockery of the bookmakers' odds, which have seen the Buenos Aires native priced as a 12/1 underdog for the scheduled 10-round bout.
Taylor is a huge favourite to claim her first professional crown this weekend, despite the fact that the five-time amateur world gold medallist is coming up against a two-weight world pro champion.
"I am coming for 10 rounds… I want to show the quality of boxer that I am. If it is 10 rounds, I will fight to the end," said Sanchez.
"Everybody is thinking that Katie is coming to lift the belt over here, but they're wrong. It won't be a walk in the park - it will be a dark and rainy night for Katie," added the champion, ignoring the fact that the Principality Stadium's roof will be closed on fight night when making her prediction.
While Taylor is heading into her seventh paid fight, 25-year-old Sanchez carries a 17-2 record - although both of her defeats came in Europe, her only bouts outside of Argentina.
Sanchez was adamant that a 70,000-plus crowd will not be an intimidating factor as she played down the notion that Taylor's experience of boxing on big fight nights will be an advantage.
"I'm not worried about the crowd, the stage, the people or the publicity.
"I know the importance of keeping that belt," said Sanchez. "I will not be intimidated… I will only be close up with my opponent so it won't matter that there is 78,000 people there."
Taylor paid tribute to Ryan Burnett, Ireland's only reigning world champion, following his unification victory over Zhanat Zhakiyanov in Belfast last weekend and hinted that she may take inspiration from her compatriot's gritty winning performance.
"It was a super performance. He beat him at his own game, I thought, which was brilliant… Such a physical fight as well, going toe-to-toe for 12 rounds, it was incredible really," said Taylor, who revealed that she is prepared for a similarly gruelling battle this weekend if such an encounter unexpectedly transpires.
"That's the plan, to go in there and mix it up. There are going to be stages in the fight when I am going to be toe-to-toe with her, so we will see," said the Bray native.
"Hopefully, I will make it a small bit easier on myself. We'll see how the fight is going.
"She is very experienced and she is very rough and rugged when she does get in there as well.
"She likes to get in close, so I would be expecting all that but I am prepared for that," added Taylor, who claimed that victory would rank alongside her amateur achievements.
"Yeah, it is definitely up there," she said.
"This fight is going to open a lot of doors for me, and open up opportunities for big fights down the road."
Elsewhere, Joshua declared it was time to put his defeat of Wladimir Klitschko "to the side" as he prepared to make the fourth defence of his world heavyweight title against Carlos Takam.
Under the roof at the Principality Stadium, the IBF and WBA champion fights for the first time since establishing himself as the world's leading heavyweight.
April's dramatic stoppage defeat of Klitschko, the dominant heavyweight of the modern era, represented the finest night of his decorated career and could yet also prove his defining night.
As well as securing his financial future, that victory - in which Joshua recovered from the first knockdown of his career - also made him one of Britain's most popular figures but far from revelling in that glory, he is determined to move on.
"We're going to have to put that Klitschko win to the side at some stage," Joshua said. "Boxing's unforgiving: that was that, this is now.
"Carlos is a completely different animal to Klitschko. In terms of style, technique and preparation, everything's completely different. My mindset's completely different, and it's going to be a completely different fight.
"It's not like this brings an ego. I keep my feet on the ground. I'm still grinding, I'm still hungry."
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