Katie Taylor has insisted that she is prepared for a potentially turbulent fight tomorrow night in Cardiff after WBA lightweight champion Anahi Esther Sanchez promised to cause a major upset in their world-title showdown.
Former Olympic champion Taylor came face to face with Argentine title holder Sanchez for the first time at yesterday’s final pre-fight press conference ahead of their bout, scheduled for 10 rounds, at the Principality Stadium on the undercard of Anthony Joshua’s world heavyweight title defence against Carlos Takam.
Taylor is a huge money-on favourite to claim her first professional crown this weekend, despite the fact that the five-time world amateur gold medallist is coming up against a two-weight world pro champion.
While the undefeated Bray native is heading into her seventh paid fight, 25-year-old Sanchez carries a 17-2 record — although both of the Buenos Aires native’s defeats came in Europe in her only bouts outside of Argentina.
The champion, however, is adamant that she will inflict a first loss on her decorated foe.
“I want to show the quality of boxer than I am. If it is 10 rounds, I will fight to the end,” said Sanchez.
“Everybody is thinking that Katie is coming to lift the belt over here, but they’re wrong. It won’t be a walk in the park. It will be a dark and rainy night for Katie.”
While the Argentine ignored the fact that the Principality Stadium’s roof will be closed on fight night for the 70,000-plus crowd when making her prediction, Sanchez played down the notion that Taylor’s experience of boxing on big fight nights will be an advantage to the challenger.
“I’m not worried about the crowd, the stage, the people or the publicity. I know the importance of keeping that belt,” said the champion. “When I go into the ring, I will not be intimidated by 70,000 people, I will only be close up with my opponent.”
Taylor paid tribute to Ireland’s only reigning world champion, Ryan Burnett following his unification victory in Belfast last weekend and hinted that she may take inspiration from her compatriot’s gritty win over Zhanat Zhakiyanov.
“It was a super performance… Such a physical fight as well, going toe-to-toe for 12 rounds,” said Taylor, who revealed that she is prepared for a similarly gruelling battle this weekend should one transpire.
“That’s the plan, to go in there and mix it up. There are going to be stages in the fight when I am going to be toe-to-toe with her,” said the Bray native. “Hopefully, I will make it a small bit easier on myself.
“But she [Sanchez] is very experienced, very rough and rugged when she does get in there as well. She likes to get in close, so I would be expecting all that but I am prepared for that,” added Taylor.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved