Saturday 17 February 2018

Taylor hoping Cardiff win will lead to Dublin title bout

 

Katie Taylor. Photo: PA
Katie Taylor. Photo: PA

Ciaran Gallagher

Former Olympic champion Katie Taylor is hoping that a world-title victory in Cardiff this weekend can tee up a home defence in Ireland next year.

Taylor challenges WBA world lightweight champion Anahi Esther Sanchez of Argentina at the Principality/Millennium Stadium on the undercard of Anthony Joshua's world heavyweight title defence on Saturday night.

Promoter Eddie Hearn had previously claimed that Taylor's first shot at a professional world title would come at home after the five-time world amateur champion turned over to the paid game late last year.

However, with the 31-year-old building a 6-0 undefeated record, Hearn and manager Brian Peters have since opted to maintain Taylor's promotional links with Joshua as she features on a Sky Box Office pay-per-view TV bill topped by the world heavyweight champion for the third time in her fledging pro career.

While that decision may have been disappointing for the former Olympic champion's Irish supporters, the Bray woman hopes a win this weekend will lead to a title defence in Dublin next year with a late spring or early summer date appearing to be most likely.

"I suppose, ideally, a title fight in Dublin or Ireland would be perfect really - to get the home crowd behind me as well, but I find it hard to be disappointed because this is my first world-title fight," said Taylor.

"I'm boxing on the undercard of one of the biggest stars in boxing at the moment. It's going to be a sell-out stadium and I expect to be high up on the card as well, so I can't really be disappointed with that. I'm just very excited and put on a really good show.

"Hopefully I get the win and I can defend the belt at home in Dublin then," added the Wicklow woman, who is a heavy betting favourite to defeat Sanchez, despite the fact that the 26-year-old is a two-weight world champion with a 27-2 pro record.

Taylor arrived in Cardiff on Tuesday, taking part in a workout in front of the UK and international media last night having spent the past weekend in Ireland.

The London 2012 gold medallist will meet Sanchez face to face at today's final pre-fight press conference where Joshua will also encounter Carlos Takam - a replacement opponent for the injured Kubrat Pulev - for the first time.

Taylor prepared for her title shot with an 11-week training camp at trainer Ross Enamait's Connecticut base before flying back to Europe and manager Peters believes his fighter is ready to peak on Saturday night.

"She's had a good long camp, a great lead-up," said Peters.

"This is a good champion she's facing and that's what Katie wanted - a real challenge - because we've had difficulty getting opponents."

Irish Independent

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