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Katie Taylor to face old foe Natasha Jonas in mouth-watering May showdown


Ireland's Katie Taylor (left) during her quarter final Olymoics win over Natasha Jonas

Ireland's Katie Taylor (left) during her quarter final Olymoics win over Natasha Jonas

Ireland's Katie Taylor (left) during her quarter final Olymoics win over Natasha Jonas

UNDEFEATED world champion Katie Taylor returns to the ring on May 1, when she defends her four championship belts against Natasha Jonas at a venue in the UK.

The pair famously clashed in the bronze medal fight at the London Olympics in 2012 when the decibel level hit 113.7 in the ExCel Centre – the highest recorded at any venue during the Games.

Taylor cruised to a comfortable win with her English opponent forced to take two standing counts in the final round. The Bray pugilist secured a 26-15 victory on route to her eventual historic gold medal success.

"Natasha proved in her last fight that she is still performing at the highest level so it's a great challenge for me and I'm really looking forward to it," said Taylor. "It's a fight that people have been asking for and those are the type of fights you want to be part of.

"People still talk about our fight in the 2012 Olympics and I think that proved to be a real eye opener for people in terms of what women's boxing is all about. I'm expecting another tough fight on May 1st and I'm looking forward to successfully defending my titles."

The build-up to this meeting could be overshadowed in Ireland, however, by the fact that the Liverpudlian is managed by MTK, whose links with Daniel Kinahan - who has been identified in the High Court in Dublin as a senior figure in organised crime on a global scale - was recently highlighted in the BBC Panorama programme.

But the Taylor camp are willing to risk the fall-out safe in the knowledge that the Bray pugilist is unlikely to ever fight in Ireland, and outside this country the match-up is unlikely to cause too much controversy.

At 36, Jonas is two years older than Taylor – she turned professional in 2017 and won the WBA world super featherweight title less than a year later. But in August 2018 she suffered a shock loss in the first defence of her belt to a former Taylor opponent, Viviane Obenauf.

Jonas' career drifted for a while, but she revived it last year in one of Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Fight Camp shows in Essex when she was very unlucky not to be given the decision against fellow Brit Terri Harper, who was defending her WBO and WBC super featherweight crowns.

The fight was scored a draw which meant Harper kept her belts, but the performance put Jonas back in the mix and the southpaw will secure the biggest pay cheque of her career against Taylor, who will be aiming for an eighteenth win on the spin.

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Both were pioneering figures in the development of women's boxing in their respective countries.

Jonas featured on the England team which met an Irish selection including Taylor in the first full women's international tournament between the countries in March 2007 in Dungarvan. They didn't face each other as Taylor boxed in the 63kg division while Jonas fought in the 66kg class.

Topping the bill on May 1 will be a heavyweight clash between Derek Chisora and New Zealand native Joseph Parker, who is now trained by Limerick's Andy Lee.

The show is a pay per view event on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK.

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