Tuesday 17 September 2019

Katie's rivals are running scared of unification bout

Philadelphia fight in doubt after Volante gets ultimatum to commit to 'life-changing' offer

Katie Taylor. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Katie Taylor. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Seán McGoldrick

Katie Taylor yesterday came face to face with the ugly side of professional boxing when a planned announcement about her next fight on St Patrick's weekend in Philadelphia had to be abandoned after a hitch over money.

Taylor's manager Brian Peters called a noon press conference in the County Club near Dunshaughlin at which he was due to confirm that the undefeated two-belt world lightweight champion would be bidding for a third belt in March against current WBO champion Rose Volante.

The Taylor camp made the Brazilian an offer they believed she couldn't refuse on Wednesday.

"We're talking life-changing money here. It's more than she ever earned in her whole career," said Peters.

But the Volante camp refused to budge which forced Peters to issue an ultimatum.

"She has been given 24 hours to decide. Katie Taylor's career will not be held up by any other fighter. By this time tomorrow, Volante will be either in or out."

The Taylor camp were also pursuing unbeaten WBC lightweight champion Delfine Persoon from Belgium for either the Philadelphia bout or a possible June fight in Madison Square Garden.

Though the negotiations are ongoing there is little sign of a breakthrough.

According to Peters, the Persoon camp had offered Taylor €130,000 to come to Belgium to fight while the press conference was in progress.

“Katie wouldn’t get out of bed for that kind of money,” said Peters. His boxing matchmaker Tomás Rohan said the vibes from the Persoon camp suggested she would only take on the Bray boxer on home soil.

“It’s clear she is only interested in a fight in Belgium. It makes no sense. If the fight is in Belgium, two men and a dog will see it,” said Rohan

Taylor herself remained sanguine. “I have now learned that this is part of the pro game. I want these fights but other girls are not stepping up.

“There was no picking and choosing opponents in the amateurs. I went into professional boxing with the same mindset. It is a pity that the rest of the fighters don’t have the same mentality. I think the Volante and Persoon fights will eventually happen because of the demand for them,” she suggested.

Moving up to super lightweight is not a liable option in the short term as three of the champions in the 140lb category, Jessica McCaskill, Victoria Noelia Bustos and Anahi Esther Sanchez, have lost to Taylor.

The Volante and Persoon camps hold the upper hand in the negotiations because of this, though it will be surprise if these financial hitches are not eventually resolved.

Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn, who is the ultimate paymaster for Taylor’s fights, famously said that every boxer as a price, but Peters was adamant that there is a limit and the Taylor camp will not be held to ransom.

He confirmed the showdown against six-weight world champion Amanda Serrano is likely to take place in September, but Taylor wants to be the undisputed champion before challenging unbeaten four-belt welterweight title holder Cecillia Braekhus in a catchweight showdown.

Irish Independent

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