Katie aiming to make big impression in Big Apple

Katie Taylor and Victoria Bustos. Pic: INPHO/Matt Heasley

For someone who won five world amateur championships in four different continents it should come as little surprise that Katie Taylor thrives away from the home comforts that await her back in Bray.

Taylor, 31, is still yet to box as a professional on Irish soil and tonight she will fight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York for the second time in nine months.

Her preparation has been done 100 miles up the east coast in Connecticut in a set-up she insists will produce a career-best performance against the IBF champion Victoria Bustos in their intriguing lightweight unification.

Taylor has barely put a foot wrong in her eight paid bouts to date but, having emerged from the first chapter of her professional career with the WBA title around her waist, she is well and truly onto the real stuff. 

Her promoter Eddie Hearn has not ruled out the possibility of facing the other two world champions before 2018 is out.

Both of those could take place in New York as part of Hearn’s new Matchroom USA venture, of which tonight is the second instalment.

A list of new dates is expected to become available next month with a major new stateside deal currently in the works and it appears as though Taylor, who will continue to plug away in the relative solitude of New England, will become a cornerstone of the project.

And the 31-year-old 2012 Olympic champion, sitting in the afternoon sun on the roof terrace at Park Avenue’s Mondrian hotel, will have no problem making New York her new home.

“I love the whole atmosphere around the fights over here,” she says. “It would be great to build a big fanbase over here as well. It has been a great experience.

“It’s about becoming a genuine attraction here on the east coast and that’s not an easy thing to do.

“I feel like I have a great fanbase at home in Ireland and even in the UK from boxing there so much. They have taken me in as one of their own really and it would be great to get the same reaction here too.

“I’d love to become one of the main faces of what he’s doing here.

“There is a lot of great publicity around women’s boxing and I definitely feel like female athletes in general are well respected over here.

“It has definitely been the perfect year for me as a pro but I just know that the best is still yet to come.”

But attempting to blow a hole in the plans to crack America is three-time world champion Bustos, who has been described by Hearn as by far the toughest opponent of Taylor’s fledgling professional career.

As such, Taylor’s training under Ross Enamait has been stepped up a gear since she made the successful first defence of her world title by out-pointing America’s Jessica McCaskill in London last December.

“It’s very important to get the sparring right,” Taylor adds. “Rounds with these top, seasoned pros, you learn so much from them.

“Even racking up the rounds in sparring has been so important for me because I’m going from four-round fights to 10 rounds.

“We mix it up and have a few girls in for sparring sometimes, but it’s mainly guys. I have great spars there with five or six that we use.

We’re grateful for that. We spar anything up to lightweight really and it seems to work.

“Camp is basically in the middle of nowhere but I’m pretty good because I know how to get my mind focused and don’t think about anything else.

“I’m not climbing the walls. I’ve got great people around me, great friends and a great life outside of the boxing so that makes it enjoyable too.

“I miss home on occasion. Especially being around the family but they do their best to come out and visit me every now and then. I just feel like it’s part of the sacrifice.”

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