Monday 18 February 2019

Taylor's belts on line against Connors

HOLDER: Katie Taylor. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
HOLDER: Katie Taylor. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Katie Taylor puts her two world boxing belts on the line next month in London when she defends her WBA and IBF titles against veteran American lightweight Kimberly Connor.

Taylor, whose estranged father Pete was wounded in a shooting in Bray Boxing club last week, will be in action on the undercard of the heavyweight clash between the UK's Dillian Whyte and New Zealand's Joseph Parker - both of whom have previously lost to World champion Anthony Joshua.

Connor will earn the biggest pay cheque of her career for the fight in which she will be complete outsider. But she gets her opportunity as she has been nominated as a mandatory challenger by the IBF. The 37-year old - who was four-year-old twin sons - was last in action in July 2017.

The Taylor camp had hoped that they could entice the WBO lightweight champion Rose Volante to London for a reunification clash against Katie.

But the Brazilian, who only secured the belt last December, indicated that she wants to defend her belt a number of times in her native country, rather than risk everything against the 2012 Olympic champion.

Connor, who is based in Little Rock, Arkansas, has a decent, if unspectacular professional record. She has recorded 13 wins, six of which came via knock-outs. She lost three fights, suffered one knock-out and her two other fights were judged as draws.

In March 2017 she travelled to Argentina to challenge Victoria Noelia Bustos for the then vacant IBF World lightweight title but lost on a unanimous points' decision. Bustos surrendered that belt to Taylor when they clashed in Brooklyn at the end of April.

In her last fight Connor beat fellow American Jasmine Clarkson on points. Three weeks later Clarkson retired after three rounds against Taylor who was making her US debut that night.

This will be Taylor's second appearance at the O2 in London. In her third professional fight she stopped Monica Gentili in March 2017.

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