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Wednesday 12 December 2018

Taylor's sight set on new horizons

Katie primed for first women's pay per view extravaganza

CHAMPION: Katie Taylor fires a left jab at Kimberly Connor during their WBA & IBF World Lightweight Championship bout at The O2 Arena, London on Saturday night. Photo: SPORTSFILE
CHAMPION: Katie Taylor fires a left jab at Kimberly Connor during their WBA & IBF World Lightweight Championship bout at The O2 Arena, London on Saturday night. Photo: SPORTSFILE

A mega fight against the 'First Lady' of professional boxing Cecila Braekhus is one of the options being explored by Katie Taylor's management team as they ratchet up efforts to turn the Bray boxer into a world superstar.

"It could be a huge fight - the first pay per view fight in women's boxing. I've said from the start that I want to fight all the big names in the sport and Cecila has obviously done incredible things for women's boxing over the past few years.

"Pound for pound she is the number one boxer in the world and I want to be at the top of that list," declared Taylor moments after dispatching her latest hapless opponent, 37-year-old mother of three Kimberly Connor after just five and half minutes of action in London's O2 Arena.

Knockout

It was Taylor's fifth knockout win in her 20-month professional career. It was also her fastest since stopping Karina Kopinska after 50 seconds of the third round in her first pro fight.

Referee Steve Gray brought proceeding to a halt after one minute and 43 seconds of the third round on Saturday night.

It was her first win via KO in exactly a year and more pointedly it was a career best finish.

"I thought the finish was a huge improvement on previous fights I was more composed.

"I was very happy with the finish especially since I got a lump under my eye. I don't know how I got it, maybe a clash of heads but it (the swelling) came up very quickly. Obviously I could feel it but it didn't affect me in any way," she insisted.

While Katie returned to her home in Bray yesterday, she will be back in her training base in Connecticut early next week as she begins preparations for her next challenge against 36-year old Cindy Serrano, the WBO featherweight champion and older sister of five-weight world belt winner Amanda Serrano - another future Taylor's opponent.

The rivalry between the Bray pugilist and the Puerto Rican born, Brooklyn based sisters is building nicely.

Katie Taylor displays her WBA & IBF World Lightweight Championship belts. Photo: SPORTSFILE
Katie Taylor displays her WBA & IBF World Lightweight Championship belts. Photo: SPORTSFILE

Shortly after Taylor's fight on Saturday night Amanda Serrano tweeted: "This is how it looked when I stopped Kimberly Connor. I didn't need the refs help".

The tweet was accompanied by a picture of Connor on the canvas as the referee stopped her 2011 World title fight against Serrano in the second round

Not to be outdone, however, Taylor won the first round of the verbal war when referring to her forthcoming fight against Cindy Serraro quipping: "I think the clash of styles makes for a very exciting fight and afterwards we'll get the other sister, or else if she wants to fight on the same night I can do that as well. Why not?"

Suggestions that referee Steve Gray ought to have let the fight continue until Connor hit the canvas was greeted by an indignant reaction from Taylor's trainer Ross Enamait.

"She would have f... killed her.

"The power came through, she legitimately hurt her, no way she could have gone on."

Enamait's increasingly influential role not just in Katie's career but in her life in general was underlined when she referenced the tragic shooting incident in Bray last month when he father was the intended target of the gunman.

"I am very happy to have the fight to focus on and train through and obviously Ross was incredible during that time. Obviously it was a tough time for the family but thankfully everything is ok," said Taylor.

Five of Taylor's ten professional fights have been staged in three different venues in London and judging by the reaction she received during her walk-on she is now an established star in the UK.

However, her Irish manager Brian Peters confirmed that her next two fights this year will take place in United States.

The planned showdown against Braekhus is not likely to be place until the end of 2019 and it is dependent on the Columbian born, Norwegian based superstar - who is the current welterweight champion and unbeaten in 34 fights - dropping seven pounds.

"Katie is willing to box at 140 lbs," said Peters.

Braekhus won a silver medal at the 2005 World amateur championships boxing in the 140lb super lightweight division but her professional career has been based around the 147lb welterweight class.

Still money talks in professional boxing and interestingly Taylor - who has repeatedly stated that her ambition was to win all four belts in the 135lb lightweight division said: "If I can't get all the belts so be it.

"I also know that it's important to be involved in big fights as well. I have the Cindy Serrano fight which I will now concentrate on."

Meanwhile, it was a tough night at the O2 for Dubliner Craig O'Brien. In his first fight outside Ireland, the 28-year-old suffered a sixth round KO when he was caught flush on the chin by a perfect left hook from unbeaten Rio Olympian Anthony Fowler.

O'Brien received oxygen in the ring but was well enough to walk to the dressing room afterwards.

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