While promoter Eddie Hearn yesterday claimed he is keen to spread the Katie Taylor “gospel”, manager Brian Peters insisted he has no concerns over the new world champion’s surprisingly quick ring resurrection being scheduled for next month.
Somewhere in between, the fighter herself maintained her usual, dignified candidness as she chatted with fans and media at an event yesterday billed as a ‘homecoming’, following her WBA world lightweight title win over Argentina’s Anahi Esther Sanchez in Cardiff last weekend.
Sitting in Dublin’s Irish Film Institute, it seemed fitting that the Bray woman was in a position to reflect on her first professional world-title success on the anniversary of her competing in the first officially-sanctioned female amateur bout to take place in Ireland, 16 years previously.
However, as tends to be the case in the hyperbolic world of pro boxing, it did not take more than a few minutes for talk to turn to future fights — and a surprise announcement that Taylor will be back in the ring just seven weeks after her title win.
A cut picked up over her right eye during the win over Sanchez had appeared likely to rule her out of action until the new year, but Matchroom promoter Hearn revealed the 31-year-old will box next month at a London venue to be confirmed. The bout looks set to take place on December 15, live on Sky Sports, with Chicago’s Jessica McCaskill — who carries a 5-1 record — a “first choice” opponent, according to Peters, though the 33-year-old has yet to negotiate terms for the fight.
After seven professional bouts in less than a year, the hastily arranged plan leaves Taylor with questionably little recovery time, while her cut is sure to limit her sparring ahead of her first title defence.
Three stitches on her right eyebrow most certainly seems to have played a part in scuppering a potential US date next month, but Peters insisted he has no concerns about the 31-year-old’s quick ring return.
“I suppose, initially, straight after the fight, the eye was swollen [we were unsure]... but the cut isn’t actually that deep and a good opportunity came along to headline a show on Sky,” said Peters. “It will be seven weeks [since her Cardiff win] and Katie, Ross [Enamait, trainer] and the whole team, we just had a good talk about it.
“We’ve just got accustomed to fighters not fighting so much now, back in the old days they used to fight regularly. We might be taking a different approach to the way modern fighters fight,” added Peters, citing the fact that two-minute rounds in women’s boxing mean female fighters tend to absorb less punishment than males do in their three-minute stanzas.
The timing still seems a little odd, given the fact Hearn’s Matchroom Promotions stage a rematch between David Haye and Tony Bellew just two days later, on December 17, in London, with the promoter claiming he opted against installing Taylor on that fight card so she could headline her own show. That will represent another first, as she will be the first woman to top a Matchroom fight card.
“I’m definitely feeling tired, but I have a few days off to relax and I’ll be back in camp nice and fresh next week,” said Taylor, who returns to the Connecticut base of US trainer Enamait this weekend.
“This is exactly the way I want it. I love to stay busy and have a fight to focus on.
“It’s going to be a great end to the year, I hope. Having the opportunity to headline a show is incredible, I can’t wait.”
Taylor’s busy fight schedule has quickly become a musical-chairs-type situation, such is her eagerness to fight and the amount of promotional opportunities that have arisen.
An American date is likely to be booked for early 2018 and, while previous plans for a homecoming bout were scrapped, Hearn claims he is keen to capitalise on Taylor’s impressive performance last weekend with a Dublin date in spring.
“We have everything in play, but we have to come to Dublin in 2018, there is no doubt about that,” insisted the promoter. “We have America as well, but are not ruling out other countries. It’s all about spreading the gospel.
“I just feel it was such a huge night for us [on Saturday] and, going into December, it’s about keeping that momentum and being in fights people want to see.”
Peters speculated that a March or April unification title fight in Dublin’s 3 Arena or the RDS is the most likely option for a homecoming.
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