Thursday 18 January 2018

'I've never been in better shape' - Katie Taylor's warning ahead of pro debut

Katie Taylor and Karina Kopinska square off
Katie Taylor and Karina Kopinska square off
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Katie Taylor believes she in the best shape of her life as begins her professional boxing career tomorrow night against Karina Kopinska at Wembley Arena.

Kopinska, the 27-year-old Pole entering her 25th pro bout, is promising to provide an early examination professional boxing’s newest star having taken the WBC Super-Featherweight champion Eva Wahlstrom the distance and the Bray hero is ready for a stern first test.

“Karina is an experienced pro and has been in with the best of them, some really top contenders, so it’s a good challenge for me and I feel better than ever,” said Taylor at the weigh-in in London.

“There’s a few rivalries out there already for me to look forward to after this fight. I beat Sofya Ochigava at London 2012, she has turned pro and she’s an excellent fighter.

“We always got on, but obviously when the rivalry starts you naturally keep your distance a bit, but she’s a great girl and a fantastic boxer, and if we did fight again down the line it would be a huge event for women’s boxing.”

Michael Conlan and Paddy Barnes have joined Taylor in stepping away from the amateur ranks to turn professional and she is hoping that the trio may be able to compete on the same bill - possibly at a mega-boxing event in Ireland - in the coming months.

“It’s big names turning profession with huge profiles already and I think that all the guys can become World champions too,” she added.

“Michael and Paddy have great chances to reach the top so it’s an exciting time for all of us - I’d love for us to fight on each other’s bills down the line, we could have some really huge fights in Ireland.

“I’ll box anyone anywhere in the world, it doesn’t bother me. I would love to fight in Las Vegas, New York, and at The O2 in Dublin and Croke Park, who knows? It’s all about building for the future, and there’s no future without winning tomorrow and getting the ball rolling.”

Taylor’s clash with Kopinska is expected to get underway at 9.30pm on Saturday night, with full coverage live from the arena here on Independent.ie.

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