Friday 24 January 2020

Katie Taylor takes home prestigious US award after being named Female Fighter of the Year

Katie Taylor (Richard Sellers/PA)
Katie Taylor (Richard Sellers/PA)

Sean McGoldrick

KATIE Taylor has been named the 2019 Female Fighter of the Year by the Boxing Writers’ Association of America.

The two-weight undefeated world champion becomes the third recipient of the BWAA’s Christy Martin award, following in the path of Cecilia Braekhus (2017) and Claressa Shields (2018).

The award is chosen by a select group of women’s boxing experts and the Bray fighter will be presented with her award at a gala function in early 2020.

This year Taylor extended her unbeaten record to 15-0. She successfully defended three lightweight world titles in March before unifying all the lightweight belts with a majority-decision victory over long-time WBC world champion Delfine Persoon. In her final fight of the year in Manchester, Katie beat Christina Linardatou to win the WBO super lightweight title.

"I think the biggest accomplishment this year was becoming the undisputed champion. Winning it at Madison Square Garden in one of the best fights of the year of the year was huge for me, and huge for my country. It’s something I always dreamed of since I turned pro," Taylor said.

Taylor is currently on a break from her training base in Connecticut in the United States. Her boxing plans for 2020 are fluid but she is unlikely to be back in the ring before April.

Originally, she was due to face seven-weight world champion Amanda Serrano in her next bout. Though the Brooklyn-based boxer has signed a contract for the fight, there are doubts over whether the showdown will take place due to the perceived reluctance of Serrano to put her reputation on the line against the Bray fighter.

A rematch against Delfine Persoon had been provisionally pencilled in for a pay-per-view Sky show in the summer, but this is now in doubt following the shock decision of the Belgian to reclassify herself as a amateur from January 1 in order to bid for a place at the Tokyo Olympics next summer.

Her manager/coach Filiep Tampere confirmed that she will represent her native country at the Olympic qualifying tournament in London next March.

"Delfine has been given a wildcard entry by Belgium into the lightweight category for the Olympic qualifier and she will be boxing at the qualifier tournament in London in March," he said.

"At the moment Delfine is ranked not just the number one super featherweight in the world but the number one pound-for-pound female boxer in the world by Box Rec."

"She doesn’t want to wait around any longer for a rematch against Katie Taylor," added Tampere. "She is now concentrating on the Olympic qualifying tournament because amateur boxing is different from the professional game."

Of course, it cannot be entirely ruled out that this is a giant bluff by the Persoon camp designed to force the Taylor camp to prioritise a rematch against the Belgian, who was bitterly disappointed not to have got the judges' verdict when they clashed in Madison Square Garden last June.

A super-fight between Taylor and undefeated welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus has been mooted by Eddie Hearn, boss of Matchroom, who promote both fighters. However, this would involve the latter shedding at least five pounds in weight and Taylor bulking up to possibly 142lb, which complicates organising the showdown.

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