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Sunday 17 November 2019

Katie set for million dollar purse

Victory tomorrow could see Taylor top the bill on Sky pay-per-view in 2020

Katie Taylor and Christina Linardatou ahead of their WBO Women’s Super-Lightweight World title fight tomorrow night at the Manchester Arena
Katie Taylor and Christina Linardatou ahead of their WBO Women’s Super-Lightweight World title fight tomorrow night at the Manchester Arena

Katie Taylor is on the cusp of becoming the first million dollar fighter in women's boxing.

On the eve of her historic world super lightweight title fight in Manchester, her promoter Eddie Hearn predicted that if the Bray fighter wins a sixth world belt tomorrow night, she is likely to have three super fights in 2020.

One of them will probably earn her a million-dollar purse and it will almost certainly be a top of the bill pay-per-view fight on Sky - the first ever in the history of women's professional boxing.

The Matchroom chief executive also raised the possibility that the fight - a rematch against Delfine Persoon who Taylor controversially beat to unify the lightweight division in Madison Square Garden in June - could be staged in Ireland.

Hearn also suggested that Taylor has become such a trailblazer in the sport that the top women fighters will eventually secure the same eye-popping purses as their male counterparts.

"The game has changed so much. The purses have trebled in the last 18 months for everybody. What I keep doing with Katie is I keep signing a new contract with her and one fight later, the contract looks ... So we have to do another one, because I feel bad.

"When we do a contract, we think this is mega-money and then she goes to Philadelphia or Boston, the DAZN love her. Here is where we talk about equality of purses, what is the difference between Katie Taylor and another male world champion in America - she is the same draw or a bigger draw.

"But you can bet your life the male champion is earning more money. And that is where we talk about equality of purses. Forget about male or female, the only reason it is not happening yet is because you are playing catch-up.

It will happen and it is happening.

"But she is the stand-out, there is nobody making money in women's boxing like Katie Taylor. She is the queen. She deserves it because she is responsible for all of it," declared an ebullient Hearn.

Right now, though, the only contract in place for Taylor is to fight seven-weight World champion Amanda Serrano in Madison Square Garden next spring.

There is a clause in Serrano's contract that the fight must take place within six months of her last bout which took place on September 13.

Taylor's former Olympic team mate Michael Conlan is due to fight in MSG on St Patrick's Day but Hearn said the Taylor-Serrano fight could take place in February in the Big Apple.

Intriguingly, he also revealed that Sky Sport - which will televise tomorrow's contest - want to feature Taylor in a top of the bill pay-per-view fight next year.

"There is an interest from Sky to try and break new ground and have the first ever pay-per-view women's fight," said Hearn who added that a Taylor-Persoon rematch was the obvious showdown for such a bold experiment.

"I'm not saying it would do hundreds of thousands of buyers but I think there is an appetite from Sky to push women's sport in a way to give it equal billing."

Such a fight would have to take place in either the United Kingdom or Ireland. Hearn also hinted at the possibility of the Olympic gold medallist eventually fighting on home soil.

"A fight in Dublin is something that we would love to do. It would be a shame in her professional career if we didn't do it. I don't know when it could take place.

"There is talk of Croke Park. But realistically it would be in a smaller stadium or a bigger (indoor) arena. We would love to do it but at the same time DAZN (the streaming network which broadcast her fights in the US) do not want her to leave America."

Hearn, however, sounded a note of caution about tomorrow night's fight which he suggested was by no means a foregone conclusion.

"This fight will be very similar to the Persoon fight. Katie's opponent, Christina Linardatou, is super strong and she can hit with her right hand.

"The other thing is that Katie has done hundreds of thousands of rounds and that last fight was very physical. Sometimes, after you have a tough fight, you don't have the freshness," he admitted.

So much more than another belt is riding on the outcome.

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