Thursday 23 November 2017

Katie Taylor wants to be 'the Ronda Rousey of women's boxing'

Katie Taylor and Karina Kopinska during the press conference at The Landmark Hotel, London today
Katie Taylor and Karina Kopinska during the press conference at The Landmark Hotel, London today
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Katie Taylor says she’s determined to turn her amateur success into world title glory - and she aims to land a right hook in the direction of the UFC in the process.

Irish hero Taylor, her new promoter Eddie Hearn and TV partner Sky Sports are plotting for the long-term, taking Taylor to Manchester next month and then looking to fight in Europe and America in the first quarter of 2017, with a New York date already being discussed for next March.

Taylor was a pioneer for the women’s amateur game and with her brilliance in the ring coupled with her huge popularity, the 30 year old is determined to breathe life into the women’s pro game in Ireland and the UK, whilst adding belts to an already over-flowing mantelpiece of honours.

“I would love to do for pro boxing what I did for the amateurs,” said Taylor. “I think we need a few of the big names to turn over, like Claressa Shields did at the weekend in America. This is the platform that women's boxing needs.

“It's important to be financially secure when I am finished fighting as it's a short career, but I am not motivated by money. I made a good living in the amateurs and now it's a new challenge and new goals and that's what is exciting for me. I am going to where I am most passionate about my future and that's in the pros.

“I never felt like walking away, I knew that there’s still so much more greatness ahead of me. I performed badly at the Olympics but I knew that the best was yet to come. I am a fresh 30 year old and I feel I have many, many years left in me, so it was a matter of getting past the disappointment and refocusing on the future.

“I'd love to win a world title, unify the belts and try to go up the weights and try to win belts at higher weights too.”

Taylor believes she can change the way women’s boxing is viewed and halt the flow of talent from her sport in their octagon that has turned the likes of Ronda Rousey and Holly Holmes into stars in recent years.

“I'd like to do what the likes of Ronda Rousey has done in the UFC and become a big name in professional boxing and raise the profile of the sport,” she added.

“UFC take their female fighters very seriously and they claim equal billing to the men on the shows, that's huge, and that's why a lot of boxers are turning to UFC.

“I didn't used to have a great deal of interest in who was doing what in the pros but now that I have turned over I am obviously looking at the names out there, those that I am chasing. It's big in the States, Germany, Scandinavia, there's a lot of interest in the sport in these countries and we have to emulate that in Ireland and the UK.

“It's great to have the quick turnover and box again in a couple of weeks and then hopefully a few fights early in 2017. There's pressure to put on a good show in the early fights but I've always had that pressure to perform in the amateur days so that's not going to change.”

Taylor’s clash with Kopinska is part of a huge night of action in London, with the Bray hero expected to make her way into the ring at around 9.30pm on Saturday night.

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