Monday 24 June 2019

'Let's get on with it' - Katie Taylor reveals ultimate professional goal after Madison Square Garden masterclass

15 December 2018; Katie Taylor after defeating Eva Wahlstrom in their WBA & IBF World Lightweight Championship fight at Madison Square Garden in New York, USA. Photo by Ed Mulholland / Matchroom Boxing USA via Sportsfile
15 December 2018; Katie Taylor after defeating Eva Wahlstrom in their WBA & IBF World Lightweight Championship fight at Madison Square Garden in New York, USA. Photo by Ed Mulholland / Matchroom Boxing USA via Sportsfile

Sean McGoldrick in New York

Katie Taylor remains the undefeated WBA and IBF world lightweight champion after seeing off Eva Wahlstrom in Madison Square Garden.

It was The Fairytale on Seventh Avenue for the 32-year-old Bray fighter, who showcased her skill, courage and competitiveness in the most famous boxing venue in the world to chalk up her twelfth career win in 25 months and her fourth this year.

She becomes the first Irish boxer to successfully defend a world title in Madison Square Garden but more significantly is rapidly emerging as one of the stand-out boxers – either male or female – on the world stage right now.

The three ringside judges Bernard Bruni, Larry Hazzard Jr and David Sutherland all returned similar cards, giving her another shut-out 100-90 win, which in layman's terms means she won all ten rounds.

"I thought it was very good performance," said Katie immediately after the contest. "Eva is a tough competitor and we prepared for a difficult fight. It is a privilege to fight in Madison Square Garden with all these Irish fans here."

Told by the TV interviewer that some of her flurries are being compared to what Sugar Ray Leonard produced in her prime Taylor said: "Being compared to Sugar Ray Leonard is a great honour. My goal is to be as good as he was.

"The goal now is to become the undisputed lightweight champion of the world," she said before prompted by the interviewer called out six weight World champion Amanda Serrano as he shaid: "Let's get on with it."

Wahlstrom, who retains her WBC world super featherweight belt despite her first pro career loss, was regarded as the most technically gifted fighter that Taylor had faced.

She lacked nothing in effort and unlike Taylor's last opponent Cindy Serrano, who failed to ever engage Taylor at any stage, Wahlstrom was up for a challenge, though she never looked capable of causing the upset of the year.

However, she deserves the utmost credit for not just going the distance but actually surviving without a count. Taylor repeatedly caught her with flurries of punches to the body. A clash of heads in the ninth round left Wahlstrom bleeding profusely from a head wound but though Taylor tried hard, she couldn't finish the contest within the distance but moves on to 12-0-0.

The bottom line is that Taylor is simply a remarkable athlete and the best is possibly yet to come.

If the four mega fights that are being lined up for her in 2019 come to pass and she remains unbeaten, it will be just reward for the commitment she shows to her craft. Nobody deserves to be the lineal champion of their division more than the Bray pugilist.

Her record this year underlines the total dominance she exerts in the lightweight division. Her first contest of the year in April was for the IBF world belt and her three subsequent bouts were all world championship contests.

Between them the four boxers she defeated, Victoria Noelia Bustes, Kimberly Connor, Cindy Serrano and Eva Wahlstrom had a combined professional record of 80 wins, six draws and just 12 losses, yet she swatted them all away.

She stopped Connor in the third round of their contest in London's O2 Arena whereas the other contests all went the distance, which meant she fought 32 rounds in which judges had to turn in a score. With three judges involved in each fight, 96 rounds were scored and Taylor won 92 of them.

Taylor will be back in Bray celebrating Christmas with her family but when she returns to her training base in Connecticut in January, she will be focussing on her next challenge, a likely clash in March in the US against WBC lightweight belt holder Rose Volante from Brazil.

The plan is to stage the fight in Philadelphia on March 16th alongside a world title fight between junior lightweight Tevin Farmer – who is from the city – and possibly Irishman Jono Carroll.

Financially female boxers still lag way behind their male counterparts in terms of their earning capacity, yet Taylor remains the world's best paid female fighter and has probably earned more than a half a million euros in 2018.

All the signs are that her promoters Matchroom are interested in making her the female face of their new DAZN streaming service and even though she can only dream of ever matching the 11-fight $365m contract deal which Canelo Alvarez signed with DAZN earlier this year, she could still drive a tough bargain.

"I want all four titles next year," declared Taylor as she looked forward to 2019. "It was amazing to perform like that in front of an amazing crowd at a great venue like Madison Square Garden.

"Now I'm going back to Ireland for Christmas. I haven't been home for six months and I'm looking forward to seeing my niece and my family. I'm looking forward to be a break now and then get back in the ring in the New Year."

Right now the boxing world is her oyster.

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