Friday 15 November 2019

Katie Taylor closing in on her first million-dollar purse as Hearn lines up 'super fights'

Promoter Eddie Hearn, Katie Taylor and Christina Linardatou during the press conference for Saturday's world title fight
Promoter Eddie Hearn, Katie Taylor and Christina Linardatou during the press conference for Saturday's world title fight
Promoter Eddie Hearn. Photo: Ed Sykes/Action Images via Reuters

Sean McGoldrick

A pot of gold awaits Katie Taylor if she wins her sixth world belt against Christina Linardatou in the Manchester Arena tomorrow night.

Promoter Eddie Hearn revealed that the Bray fighter is likely to have three super fights next year. One of them is set to earn her a first million-dollar purse. It will almost certainly be a top-billing pay-per-view fight on Sky - the first in the history of women's professional boxing.

The Matchroom chief executive also raised the possibility that the fight - a rematch against Delfine Persoon, who Taylor controversially beat to unify the lightweight division in Madison Square Garden in June - could be staged in Ireland. Realistically, it is more likely to take place in London.

Hearn said Taylor has become such a trailblazer in the sport that her impact will eventually see the top female boxers command the same eye-popping purses for title fights as their male counterparts.

"The game has changed so much. The purses have trebled in the last 18 months for everybody," said Hearn. "What I keep doing with Katie is I keep signing a new contract with her.

"What is the difference between Katie Taylor and another world male world champion in America? She is the same or a bigger draw.

"But you can bet your life the male champion is earning more money. And that is where we talk about equality of purses. The only reason it is not happening yet is because you are playing catch-up. It will happen.

Responsible

"She is the stand-out, there is nobody making money in women's boxing like Katie Taylor. She is the queen. She deserves it because she is responsible for all of it."

Right now, however, the only contract in place is for Taylor to fight seven-weight world champion Amanda Serrano. Hearn said the fight could be scheduled for February in the Big Apple.

But it's the prospect of a rematch between Taylor and Persoon which is encouraging Sky - who have shown all of Taylor's pro fights - to test the market for the first pay-per-view fight featuring a top-of-the-bill showdown between two female boxers.

"Although Serrano and Cecilia Braekhus (the undefeated world welterweight champion) are big names, Persoon does have that cross-over appeal because she boxed Katie Taylor and that fight had everything and it was a little controversial," he added.

"So that maybe is the pay-per-view fight. I'm not saying it would do hundreds of thousands of buys, but I think there is an appetite from Sky to push women's sport."

Meanwhile, Taylor acknowledged that when she first fought in the Manchester Arena in December 2016, in only her second professional fight, she never envisaged returning less than three years later to top the bill.

She said: "This is everything I dreamed of since being a kid. I also have the chance to make history and become a two-weight champion.

"I've had my longest ever training camp. This could be a gruelling fight like my last one against Delfine Persoon."

Irish Independent

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