Thursday 13 December 2018

Taylor relishing 'big step up' as she prepares to face WBA champion Sanchez

Katie Taylor, left, faces Anahi Sanchez in Cardiff this weekend
Katie Taylor, left, faces Anahi Sanchez in Cardiff this weekend

Katie Taylor recognises Saturday's world title fight with Anahi Sanchez represents the "biggest night" of her already decorated career and that she is also fighting for the wider picture of British and Irish women's boxing.

At Cardiff's Principality Stadium and in only her seventh professional fight, the 31-year-old challenges WBA lightweight champion Sanchez of Argentina

During an exceptional amateur career Taylor won five world titles, six European titles and an Olympic gold medal at London 2012, yet it is the opportunity presented on the undercard of Anthony Joshua's world heavyweight title fight with Carlos Takam that could yet define her.

Despite the significantly increased interest in women's boxing since the 2012 Olympics, Britain and Ireland are yet to produce a world champion, and Taylor said: "This is the biggest night of my career. I'm so excited about it.

"These are the sort of fights that are going to elevate women's boxing. It's definitely a big step up.

"I've had a great 10, 11 week training camp in America. These are the sort of challenges I relish and I can't wait for it."

Two-weight world champion Sanchez, 26, who is making the first defence of her title, responded to the fact her two previous defeats also came outside of Argentina, and said: "Everybody's thinking I can't lift the belt here, and everybody's wrong."

On the same undercard, Britain's WBA super-flyweight champion Kal Yafai makes the second defence of his title against Japan's Sho Ishida, and dismissed concerns surrounding the threat posed by his rangy challenger at a time when he is targeting bigger names in a competitive division.

"Everybody's taller than me," the 28-year-old said. "I'm in a huge division.

"I'm a lucky man with the chance to make some big money. I can't wait to get involved in these good fights. I'm not taking my eyes off Ishida, and then I can move on to big things: HBO, America, let's go."

Joshua's rival Dillian Whyte, meanwhile, fights Robert Helenius of Finland in the expectation the winner will challenge for a world heavyweight title in 2018.

Whyte said: "We're already having problems getting opponents. I'm ready Saturday to do damage.

"Boxing's about progressing and timing. I'm fighting someone who's tall and rangy. I want to see how I've come along in my career."

"I've had some issues with injury, but I'm reading to move forward," said Helenius.

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