Thursday 17 October 2019

'Somebody's '0' has got to go' - Katie Taylor relishing Madison Square Garden showdown

Katie Taylor. Photo: Sportsfile
Katie Taylor. Photo: Sportsfile

Sean McGoldrick in New York

KATIE Taylor fulfils another of her lifetime sporting ambitions in 48 hours when she makes her professional boxing debut in Madison Square Garden, arguably the world's most iconic boxing venue.

“If you haven't fought at the Garden you haven't made it,” suggested six weight World champion Oscar De La Hoya, whose Golden Boy company is promoting Saturday's show which is headlined by Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez, who is also making his MSG debut.

De La Hoya described Taylor as a hot prospect, though he quickly added that she was already already a major champion.

Speaking at the final press conference for the show which De La Hoya predicted would be a 20,000 sell-out, Taylor again reiterated how much an honour it was to be fighting in such a iconic venue.

She promised the fans that she would spare no effort but acknowledged that her opponent Eva Wahlstrom was likely to do the same.

“I know Eva from the amateur days and we met on many occasions. She is a great competitor and a fantastic fighter. We are both here on win on Saturday evening so somebody's 0 has got to go as they say. I can't wait for what is going to be an exciting fight,” she said.

Both fighters go into the contest unbeaten in their professional career. Taylor has chalked up 11 wins on the spin on her way to winning the WBA and IBF lightweight titles while 38-year old Wahlstrom – who is the current WBC World super featherweight champion - has 22 wins and one draw on her CV.

Taylor is the overwhelming favourite to maintain her one hundred percent record and Matchroom's Eddie Hearn is already working on her schedule for 2019, which promises to be her most taxing, but rewarding year yet.

Her first priority to the unify the lightweight division beginning in March with a clash against the current WBO 60kg champion Rose Volante. The Taylor camp had hoped to entice Volante from Brazil for this Saturday's fight in MGS, but Volante pleaded that she needed more time to prepare for the biggest challenge of her career.

Hearn revealed that the Volante fight is likely to be in the United States in March which rules out the possibility of Taylor boxing on the same bill as World heavyweight champions Anthony Joshua, who is scheduled to defend his belts in Wembley Stadium next April.

Next up for Taylor would be a clash against unbeaten WBC champion Delfine Persoon from Belgium who successfully defended her title for the eighth time at the weekend with a tenth round stoppage win.

So far, however, Persoon has resisted all attempts to lure her from her home base though Hearn's mantra is that she will eventually be made a financial offer she cannot refuse.

Provided Taylor reunites all four belts she would then fight six-weight World champion Amanda Serrano in early autumn – she has already defeated her sister.

Finally she would round off 2019 with the biggest ever fight in women's professional boxing - a clash against the undisputed 'First Lady' of women's professional boxing Cecilia Braekhus, the undefeated lineal welterweight champion who boasts a 35-0 record. The fight would most likely take place in the 140lbs super lightweight category.

But for any of these plans to come to fruition Taylor has to do the business in the Garden on Saturday night.

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