Friday 19 January 2018

Taylor to fight in London on Haye-Bellew undercard

Andy Lee will be back in the ring next month. Photo: Dave Thompson/Getty Images
Andy Lee will be back in the ring next month. Photo: Dave Thompson/Getty Images

Katie Taylor and Andy Lee will both be back in the ring next month.

It was confirmed yesterday that Taylor's third professional fight will take place in the O2 in London on March 4 on the undercard of the heavyweight clash between David Haye and Tony Bellew. The show, which will be broadcast on Sky Sport, is already a sell-out.

Originally it was hoped that Taylor would fight on the undercard of the middleweight showdown between Gennady Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs in Madison Square Garden on March 18.

However, that plan was scrapped after Top Rank - the company backing Michael Conlan's pro debut in the New York venue on St Patrick's night - apparently objected to the fact that another Irish fighter would be boxing in the same venue 24 hours later.

But in another ironic twist, Lee has been confirmed on the March 18 card in Madison Square Garden.

The former WBA World middleweight title holder's trainer Adam Booth confirmed that the Limerick man - who hasn't fought since surrendering his world belt to Billy Joe Saunders in December 2015 - is on the comeback trail.

Meanwhile, World No 2 ranked Kellie Harrington insists she feels no pressure ahead of the battle for the Irish lightweight crown and vest vacated by Taylor at the National Elite Championships, which begin tonight at the National Stadium.

The lightweight belt, last held by Taylor, who has turned pro, is on the line. Harrington reached the World Elite light-welter (64kg) final last year, but has dropped down to lightweight (60kg), which is one of the Olympic weights for women, to aim for her seventh Irish belt.

Former European Youth champion Amy Broadhurst, Shauna O'Keefe - who was beaten by Taylor in the 2015 final - and Rivers McCormack have entered against Harrington who is ranked No.2 in the World at light-welter.

"It only adds pressure (being No 2) if you let it add pressure. Pressure is for tyres, not people, said Glasnevin BC's Harrington.

Olympians Darren O'Neill, Joe Ward, Steven Donnelly and David Oliver Joyce have also entered, with O'Neill also aiming for a seventh title.

The Elites has a treble significance for men as the champions will stake a claim for inclusion on the Irish squad for the European Championships in the Ukraine in June which is the sole qualifier for August's World Championships in Germany.

"I don't mind the number 13 at all, I was born on Friday the 13th so I can't complain about it," said O'Neill, who is appearing in his 13th Championships.

"The Europeans and the Worlds, I feel I have a real chance of doing well at them, but that all depends on how I perform (at the National Elites)."

Boxing begins at 7.0 tonight after the weigh-in and draw.

Irish Independent

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