Friday 17 August 2018

What's next for Katie Taylor? Belgian stands in way of Irish girl's four-belt ambitions

Katie Taylor, left, and Victoria Bustos during their WBA and IBF World Lightweight unification bout at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Katie Taylor, left, and Victoria Bustos during their WBA and IBF World Lightweight unification bout at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Sean McGoldrick in New York

It's a measure of her achievement that Katie Taylor is only one of seven professional women boxers who have held unified titles across the 18 weight divisions in the sport.

Norwegian welterweight Cecila Braekhus, the only undisputed World champion and World super middleweight pro champion and double Olympic gold medallist Claressa Shields – who was ringside for the win over Argentinian Victoria Noelia Bustos – are arguably the only other women's pro fighters whose profile matches Katie's.

Taylor's ambition is to emulate Braekhus' achievement and secure all four belts – preferable before the end of the year. But the task she faces becomes more problematic from now on.

Her next opponent could to be Brazilian Rose Volante, who became the WBO World champion last December. Though 35, she is a relative novice having only made her professional debut in 2014. But she is unbeaten in 13 fights, though she has never fought outside her native country.

But by far the biggest obstacle to Taylor's ambitions to complete the unification of the lightweight division, is WBC belt holder Delfine Persoon.

The 33-year-old Belgian, who is a railway policewomen, has only lost once in a career spanning 40 fights. Even though only one of her fights has taken place outside Belgium, she is a formidable opponent even for a boxer of Taylor's calibre.

However, a clash against Persoon doesn't particularly appeal to Taylor's promoter Eddie Hearn or her Irish manager Brian Peters, not least because despite her success the Belgian remains virtually unknown and has no record of selling tickets or being a big draw on TV.

Instead, they would much prefer to see Taylor take on Brooklyn-based Amanda Serrano, who hasn't just a formidable record of 34 wins from 36 contests but is the only boxer – either male or female from Puerto Rica – to win five World titles at different weights.

She was the WBO's lightweight title holder in 2013 and is a big favourite in Brooklyn – four of her last six fights were in the Barclays Center. Recently, she switched to the MMA franchise but a Taylor v Serrano showdown has the potential to be a top of the bill fight at the venue in 2019 or as a chief support to the eventual showdown between mega heavyweight champions, Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder.

Conveniently Joshua and Taylor are both managed by Hearn's Matchroom organisation while Lou DiBella – who first mooted the possibility of a Taylor/Serrano showdown when the former made her debut in the Barclays Center last summer – has a pivotal role in the careers of both Wilder and Serrano.

For the moment, though, Katie Taylor is the Queen of Brooklyn boxing but she will be back in her native Bray next week to saviour her latest triumph because even greater challenges lie ahead.

Earlier on the 'Straight Outta Brooklyn' show Monaghan native Larry Fryers was outclassed by Russian Nikolay Buzolin in a welterweight contest over six rounds. Fryers looked in trouble in the first round when he was forced to take a standing count but the bell saved him.

It wasn't until the third round that he began to make any impact but just when it seemed he might go the distance he saw caught flush on the jaw by a lethal left-right combination from Buzolin and the referee immediately intervened to end the contest. So Fryers drops to 6-1.

Online Editors

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport