Undisputed lightweight champion Katie Taylor is set to head back to this side of the Atlantic in November to kick off an assault on a second weight class.
The 33-year-old idol added the WBC lightweight title to her WBA, WBO, and IBF belts when she beat Delfine Persoon via a highly contentious points decision at New York’s Madison Square Garden on June 1.
An instant rematch appeared to be likely but now Taylor’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, has revealed that a move up in weight could come first when she makes her ring return in November.
Undefeated Taylor, who trains in Connecticut, has had five of her last six fights on the east coast of America but Hearn is planning to bring her back to London, where she won Olympic gold in 2012 and made her professional debut in November 2016.
“We want her out again in November and I’d like her to box in England again,” Hearn said.
“She would pull in a great crowd. It looks like she will move up a weight class to fight for another belt.
Although Hearn has yet to secure an opponent for the clash, the current WBA and WBC champion, Jessica McCaskill, whom Taylor beat at lightweight in 2017, already has a fight lined up while the IBF belt is vacant.
So the promoter says they may look to secure a clash with the current WBO champion at 140lb, Christina Linardatou, whose only career defeat came at the hands of Persoon back in 2016.
“McCaskill has got a fight in October but there’s also the WBO champion, who is an option. I think that we’ve got to look at McCaskill getting hold of those three belts then we can look at a unification fight. It would be a rematch with McCaskill, for all the belts at 140. That would mean becoming undisputed champion in two different weight classes which would be a massive achievement.”
Hearn has not completely ruled out a rematch with Persoon, who broke down in tears when the judges’ decision at Madison Square Garden went against her.
He believes there is scope to build the return into an outdoor event. “I think that’ll happen potentially in the spring next year, probably outdoors. I think at this stage of her career, Katie just wants the big challenges. What are they? Maybe a different weight class, the Persoon rematch, maybe the winner of Amanda Serrano against Heather Hardy, plus there is Cecilia Braekhus. We’ve also got Chantelle Cameron in England who is likely to get called as a mandatory (challenger) at some point and that is another good fight for 2020.
Meanwhile, WBO super-middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders has his sights set on Gennady Golovkin and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez after linking up with Hearn.
Saunders, unbeaten in 28 professional contests, parted amicably with promoter Frank Warren in early August and has joined Hearn’s stable.
“I’ll fight Golovkin at whatever weight he wants,” said Saunders. “Canelo is a brilliant fighter, but I believe I can win it.”