herald

Tuesday 14 August 2018

Taylor plan a perfect fit

Katie continues progress towards world title shot
Katie Taylor weighs in ahead of her fight against Milena Koleva in Manchester tonight. Pic: Sportsfile
Katie Taylor weighs in ahead of her fight against Milena Koleva in Manchester tonight. Pic: Sportsfile

Katie Taylor, Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan are our three Olympians who turned pro after last summer's ill-fated Rio Olympics expedition.

Conlan made his much-hyped headline debut in New York on St Patrick's Day. Barnes is going the more traditional route of getting the pro rounds in on undercards.

But, as the old song goes, it's different for girls.

Promoter Eddie Hearn has explained: "She could beat some world champions now but there's no value in winning a world title when no one's learned about her story. Our plan is to have eight fights before the world title. "

Eddie's challenge is not just to develop Katie's boxing brand in the professional arena but also to grow the sport of women's professional boxing.

There's a carefully-laid plan to introduce Katie to the hardcore boxing enthusiasts who pay real money to see a good scrap.

"The opportunities have come in England," outlined Hearn. "Then America. But ultimately, the world title shot should come in Ireland."

Tonight in Manchester, on the Jorge Linares-Anthony Crolla WBA world lightweight title fight card, Katie meets her fourth professional opponent, Milena Koleva, colourfully nicknamed 'Hell's Baby'.

The fight will be screened live on Sky Sports and it's expected thousands more fight fans will be introduced to Taylor's ferocious appetite for destruction.

This will be Katie's first eight-round fight. However, she stopped work early in two of her three six-round fights to date.

It's also Taylor's second fight this month.

Having overpowered Monica Gentili in the fifth round on March 4, Taylor flew back to her training camp in the United States.

"I've made some adjustments and improvements in the last few weeks," says Katie. "You have to improve all the time because as you progress the fights are only going to get tougher and tougher."

Despite stepping up from super featherweight to Taylor's lightweight division, Koleva (9-7-1, 3 KOs) represents a tougher test for the Bray woman.

An enthusiastic performance by Taylor will key things up nicely for her next outing, a slot on what promises to be the biggest fight in Britain this year, Anthony Joshua's title bout with Wladimir Klitschko in Wembley Stadium.

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