Tuesday 20 August 2019

Katie Taylor set for world title fight in new weight division as details of three-fight deal emerge

Undisputed World Lightweight Champion Katie Taylor
Undisputed World Lightweight Champion Katie Taylor

Sean McGoldrick

Katie Taylor is set to challenge for a world belt in a new weight division in her next fight. Details are emerging of an exciting three-fight deal for the undefeated and undisputed world lightweight title holder.

Her promoter Eddie Hearn revealed in an interview with Yahoo Sport that contact has also been made with Delfine Persoon's management team with a view to a re-match between the Belgian fighter and Taylor.

The pair fought themselves to a virtual standstill in New York in June with Taylor securing victory on a majority 2-0 decision, which was hotly disputed by the Belgian. Though another showdown is inevitable, it almost certainly won't take place until early next summer.

Taylor returned last week to begin preparations for her next fight which is likely to be in October-November and one of her former opponents, Jessica McCaskill, has emerged as the front runner to face the Bray pugilist in a super lightweight world title contest.

The Chicago-based investment banker currently holds the WBC and WBA super lightweight belts. So a win for Taylor would give her an unprecedented six world championship belts and the opportunity to become the undisputed world champion in a second weight division.

Taylor and McCashill previously clashed in December 2017 in the famous York Hall in Bethnal Green in London. Though Taylor won comfortably on points it was her toughest pro fight until she faced Delfine Persoon in Madison Square Garden last June.

Said Hearn: "I think now it's about setting new targets for her; she became an undisputed champions at lightweight so what's next?

"Probably becoming an undisputed champions at 140 pounds."

He acknowledged that the contest fight fans really want to see is a rematch with Persoon. While he revealed that contact had been made with the Belgian boxer's management team, he hinted that it wouldn't be Taylor's next fight.

There are divided views in the Taylor camp about when the rematch with Persoon should take place.

While Taylor herself, as well as her trainer Ross Enamait and Hearn favour an immediate re-match, Taylor's manager Brian Peters has repeatedly stated that he doesn't want a fight against the Belgian this year.

Hearn and Peters met in London earlier this week. It is understood that the broad parameters of the new three-fight deal, which will be backed by American TV streaming service DAZN and Sky Sports in the UK, were put in place.

Originally, seven-belt champion Amanda Serrano was in the frame to be Taylor's next opponent. She signed a three-fight contract with Hearn's promotion company Matchroom which was to culminate in a fight against Taylor. She has only taken part in one of those fights and seems to be in dispute with her promoter Lou DiBella about the terms of the deal.

The bottom line is that she won't get an opportunity to face Taylor until she has another fight but could fight Taylor early next year.

McCaskill's career took off even though she lost to Taylor in 2017. After taking a long break she returned to the ring in October 2018 to win the WBC super lightweight belt.

Last May she retained this belt and added the WBA title when she defeated another of Taylor's former opponents, Anahi Esther Sanchez.

A title showdown between two fighters who hold world belts in different weights is probably a big enough attraction to be a top of the bill bout, particularly if it was staged in McCaskill's adopted home city of Chicago.

Unquestionably it would be the richest ever women's pro fight with the DAZN footing most of the bill.

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