London takes ‘Perfect 10’ Taylor to its heart

Katie Taylor extended her pro record to a perfect 10-0 with an emphatic win at London’s O2 Arena on Saturday night.

London takes ‘Perfect 10’ Taylor to its heart

By Ronan Mullen

Katie Taylor extended her pro record to a perfect 10-0 with an emphatic win at London’s O2 Arena on Saturday night.

The end came via TKO in round three, referee Steve Gray stepping in after a sustained and unanswered barrage from Taylor left challenger Kimberly Connor on the brink.

The Bray native began as she would intend to go on, aggressively besting Connor at long and short distance, the technical disparity between the pair evident from the off.

What the Texan visitor lacked in polish she did make up for with rugged resolve, Taylor noticeably marked under her right eye following one of many unwieldy clashes.

It was the champion’s cultured lead upstairs and left hook to the body which would duly tell the tale, the latter shot setting in motion the onslaught that closed the show.

A capacity crowd reacted in kind, the adopted queen of Britain’s boxing scene greeted with thunderous support throughout.

“I think the atmosphere all week has been great,” said the 32-year-old, “even at the weigh-in and public workouts; it’s amazing to be building such a fanbase here.

"The UK public have really gotten on board and taken me in as their own. I certainly didn’t expect be on these big bills all the time but it’s a nice surprise.

It’s always good to get the knockout as well and it was important to stamp my authority early on. She was a bit nervous in the press conference and Ross (Enamait, trainer) just told me to let her know who was boss.

Asked if the fallout from last month’s attack on her father had impacted preparations, Taylor said she was instead relieved to use Saturday night as a distraction.

“I was very happy to have the fight to focus on and to train through it. Ross was incredible during that time, it was obviously a tough time for the family but thankfully everything was okay.”

Attention now switches back across the Atlantic as Taylor gets set to return stateside in mid-autumn.

While elite match-ups with the likes of Rose Volante and even welterweight titlist Cecilia Brækhus remain squarely on the agenda, Puerto Rican-born Cindy Serrano is the next order of business.

“I can’t wait, it’s a step up but it’s a big step up for her as well. Cindy is a well-known name in the US and within women’s boxing.

“I said right from the start I want to box all the big names, I want to make history in this sport. Cecilia is probably pound-for-pound number one, but I want to be top of that list.”

An effusive Eddie Hearn shared that sentiment, the promoter putting no ceiling on how high Taylor’s star can rise.

Never mind men’s boxing and women’s boxing, she’s one of the biggest names in world boxing. It’s onwards and upwards from here, she can be as big as she wants to be.

Elsewhere on the bill, there was disappointment for Dublin’s Craig O’Brien who fell to a heavy stoppage defeat against former Olympian Anthony Fowler.

Far from overawed by the occasion, he mixed it well in the early going, operating smartly on the back foot while matching Fowler in spots inside.

The scouser’s punishing body-work eventually paid dividends though, creating openings for the headshots which ultimately turned the tide.

A clubbing left in the early seconds of the sixth round brought a conclusive end to matters, O’Brien quickly seen to by ringside paramedics at the close of the bout.

It was one of several flashpoints on an explosive night of action at the famed Greenwich venue, heavyweights Dave Allen and Dereck Chisora scoring highlight-reel KOs of their own.

The main event also boasted no absence of drama, Briton Dillian Whyte and Kiwi Joseph Parker trading knockdowns en route to a pulsating points win for the hometown man.

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