Katie Taylor takes on Italy’s Monica Gentili at Super Featherweight on Saturday at London’s iconic London’s O2 Arena and has described this opportunity as ‘the stuff that dreams are made of’.
There is certain to be a ‘full house’ for the David Haye versus Tony Bellew featured bout which like Taylor’s will be shown live on Sky Sports Box Office
“I love fight week and I find the build-up so exciting,” Taylor told Tuesday’s Sportswomen show on Sky Sports News HQ.
“These are things that I live for. When I was growing up as a young girl these were the shows I dreamed of boxing on. (This fight is expected around 20.30 hrs UK time)
“It’s an incredible opportunity for me to be boxing on such a big card on the undercard of David Haye vs Tony Bellew. It’s such a privilege to be boxing on such a big show again and I just can’t wait for it.”
“In the future I have huge fights lined up including on the Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko bill in a couple of months”. That fight will be at Wembley and expects to attract a 90,000 sell out record crowd.
She is also pencilled in for another fight at the Manchester Arena on 25 March in Manchester on the undercard of Anthony Crolla’s world lightweight title rematch against Jorge Linares,
“I want to make my stand in the professional game and if I am going to be boxing for world titles later on in the year then I need to be challenged and tested and she is an opponent who will do that for me.
“I’ve been in the States for the last two months training with my coach Ross Enamait and I’ve been working on building up a lot of muscle. I’ve been punching a bit harder as well I think, and just working on things I’ve needed to since I turned pro.
“It’s great to be on another big card in front of a huge crowd at an arena like The O2,” said Taylor. “I think people are really excited about the Haye-Bellew fight and the rivalry between those guys and as a boxer these are the kind of nights you want to be a part of. It’s a massive stage for me and I’m really looking forward to it.
“Hopefully that will show at the weekend but I’m definitely in great shape. I feel fitter and stronger and I’m boxing better than I have done in a long, long time so I’m excited to step into the ring at the weekend.”
Tickets for the show sold-out within 55 minutes after going on sale on December 19th despite the fact that no titles are at stake.
This will be Taylor’s 3rd fight since joining the pros and comes after the Bray woman stopped Poland’s Karina Kopinska in November and a fortnight later overcame the challenge of Brazilian Viviane Obenauf at the Manchester Arena.
Gentili in fact is a late replacement as the original opponent, Bulgaria’s Milena Kovleva [9(3)-7(1)-1] withdrew due to a chest infection. Kovleva was a challenger last month for the IBF crown against reigning titleholder Maiva Hamadouche but lost that bout.
Gentili though is not a good traveller having lost all three of her bouts outside of Italy and she will have never fought before such a large and enthusiastic crowd as she faces this weekend.
Taylor has also been talking to RTE and reiterated her plans and hopes for the future:
“I try to take it one step at a time, one fight at a time and I’m only thinking about this fight at the weekend, but it is great to be on these big shows,” said the 30-year-old lightweight.
“To have an opportunity to box in these big stadiums, live on TV, is great for me and great for women’s boxing.
“Hopefully by the end of this year I’ll be boxing for a world title – I have big plans and big dreams and I want to do something special in this sport. This is the start of a big year for me, I hope.
“I’m really enjoying it and I feel that my style is made for the pro game; I’m adapting very well to it. I love the style of boxing. There has been a few things, I have to concentrate a bit more on power punches, but I love that and I enjoy the challenge.
“I’m just enjoying the opportunity to box on these big shows so I really believe this is where I’m meant to be.”
I expect Taylor to win this one inside the distance.