Sunday 18 February 2018

Taylor happy to put weight 'battle' behind her in new regime

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

Ciarán Gallagher

Katie Taylor may be hungry for action, but she will certainly not wilt when it comes to the physical challenge facing her tomorrow in her first professional bout in London.

No longer tied to the amateur obligation of making her 60kg weight on every day of competition throughout a tournament, when Taylor takes to the ring in Wembley Arena, she will have had about 32 hours to recover from making the 132lb weight demand for the bout.

So it seems that Polish journeywoman Karina Kopinska will meet a more imposing and energised Taylor than the one who collected Olympic gold, five world amateur titles and six European crowns.

"It's going to be huge for me," said Taylor on her weigh-in change following yesterday's pre-fight press conference at the Landmark Hotel in London's Marylebone. "I've had such a big battle over the last couple of years, with making the weight and trying to maintain that for the whole week in amateur boxing as well.

"I was going to bed the night before fights hungry and starving with very little sleep, so I think it's going to be of huge benefit to me. It was very, very tough, especially over the last couple of years. I've been 60kg ever since I became a senior boxer at 17 years of age. Every year it was getting tougher.

"I still didn't struggle as much as the likes of Paddy [Barnes] or some of the guys," added Taylor. "But it was a big battle for me to get down to 60kg and maintain it."

The 132lb limit set for the bout is in keeping with Taylor's amateur weight class of 60kg, but slightly below the pro lightweight limit of 135lbs in which she will chase titles.

That move is consistent with the toe-dipping approach promoter Eddie Hearn and manager Brian Peters have designed as the 30-year-old Bray native kicks off her prize-fighting career against Kopinska just three months after the disappointing loss of her Olympic crown in Rio.

The 27-year-old Pole may carry a losing record of seven wins, 14 losses and three draws, but Kopinska has only been stopped once in her 24-fight career, which included a points defeat to Monaghan's Christina McMahon in 2013 - albeit at a much lower weight.

"I'm prepared for a tough battle. Obviously it's a fight I'm expected to win, but no fight is going to be easy and you have to be sharp," said Taylor.

When asked if her battle with McMahon informed her of the challenge of facing 'fighting Irish' competition, the Polish native didn't disguise the reality of what awaits .

"I know Irish women boxers are very good and hard, so I think it will be a very hard fight," said Kopinska. "I know Katie Taylor is a very good boxer, better than Christina McMahon, so it will be… tough!"

Kopinska actually dwarfed Taylor when posing for a face-off photo opportunity, but the Pole's high-heeled boots warped what is actually only a two-inch height advantage.

"It's a bit awkward, [photo] stare-offs, I don't really know what to be doing! I should've wore my high heels," laughed Taylor.

Irish Independent

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