Katie Taylor secures third world title belt with impressive victory over Rose Volante
KATIE Taylor has become a three-belt World champion. She secured the WBO lightweight crown in Philadelphia with a ninth round stoppage win over defending champion Rose Volante.
Having already secured the WBA and IBF versions of the belt, she is the first Irish boxer to hold three belts simultaneously since the four-belt world championship era was ushered in.
Volante hit the deck in the first minute of the first round and though she survived. she never seriously troubled the unbeaten Irish fighter who was winning her sixth fight via knockout.
As expected, the 32-year old Bray fighter possessed too much speed and ring craft for Volante, who had only fought once before outside her native Brazil. Though she was outclassed, she displayed the characteristics which define South American boxers regardless of their pedigree.
She showed fearlessness but she didn't possess the same skill-set as Taylor. Not alone was she chasing shadows for most of a one-sided contest, she was taking serious punishment as well and her face was badly marked long before the finish and she also had to contend with a cut on the bridge of her nose.
But she will be very disappointed not to have lasted the distance and to lose her one hundred per cent pro record but will take some solace from lasting the nine rounds. The pain of the loss will be eased considerably by her losers' pay cheque of an estimated 100,000 dollars.
This was a power packed performance from Taylor who consistently found the range with her body and head shots and then in the second half of the fight, she stepped into the pocket and fought her opponent close up and Volante had no response.
She will be particularly pleased to have won via knockout. Her heretofore 42% knockout rate was disappointing at first glance, it fails to illustrate the extent of her dominance of the lightweight division since she turned professional in November 2016.
So far in her career she has boxed 90 rounds in which judges have had to turn in a score. With three judges involved in each fight, 271 rounds were scored and Taylor has won a remarkable 261 of them.
Her five bouts since April 2018, when she secured the IBF World belt in Brooklyn, have all been world championship contests. The five boxers she defeated, Victoria Noelia Bustes, Kimberly Connor, Cindy Serrano, Eva Wahlstrom and Rose Volante had a combined professional record of 94 wins, six draws and just 12 losses yet she swatted them all away.
She stopped Connor in the third round of their contest in London's O2 Arena whereas the other contests all went the distance, but she achieved shut-out victories against Serrano, Wahlstrom and now Volante – which in layman's terms means that none of the three managed to win a single round against her.
Critics of women's professional boxing and in particular of the adulation being lavished on Taylor, need to be mindful of the fact that she can only beat those who are prepared to take her on.
Unlike the majority of the male world champions, she can't be accused of dodging specific opponents and it's not her fault either that we have the ludicrous situation that there are four world champions in each weight division in women's boxing.
The bottom line is that Taylor is simply a remarkable athlete and the best has possibly yet to come.
If the three mega fights which are been planned for 2019 come to pass and she remains unbeaten, it will be just reward for the extraordinary commitment she devoted to her craft. As they say practice makes perfect.
Nobody deserves to be the lineal champion of their division more than the Bray pugilist and if she beats Belgian's railway policewomen Delfine Persoon in their reunification clash provisionally pencilled in for Madison Square Garden on June 1, she will join other three other boxers – either male or female – who currently holds all four world belts.
Ukraine's Oleksandr Usyk, Norway's Cecilia Braekhus – a probable opponent for Taylor before the end of the year in a catch-weight contest - are undisputed champions at the moment in the cruiserweight and welterweight divisions respectively - while the winner of the women's middleweight showdown between Clarissa Shields and Christina Hammer in Atlantic City on April 13 will join them.