Taylor can be undisputed world champ, says Hearn

Eddie Hearn believes Katie Taylor can claim all four lightweight titles before the year is out.

The Bray favourite, 29, puts her WBA belt on the line against Argentina’s dangerous IBF champion Victoria Bustos at the Barclays Center here in Brooklyn tomorrow night.

Bustos, a three-time world champion, is considered the toughest test of Taylor’s professional career, but that has not stopped her promoter Hearn from already plotting a path to the undisputed crown.

That would include fights against the gifted Belgian former kickboxer Delfine Persoon, the current WBC titlist, and WBO belt-holder Rose Volante.

Hearn believes Taylor can take care of Bastos tomorrow, before beating both the other champions to ensure she brings in the new year as undisputed world champion.

“We are moving Katie quickly, because we can,” said Hearn. “This is her ninth fight and it’s a unification, that says it all.

She is just a joy to work with: There’s no drama, no aggravation. Just give her the dates and she will fight.

“Saturday is a big fight and a very tough fight, by far the toughest of her career so far, but this is where it gets exciting, because early on in her career she was just blowing people away, but now her opponents are very dangerous.

“The challenge is to win this and then the other two belts before Christmas. She beat allcomers as an amateur, so I would never bet against her now, but we are talking about serious champions here and some huge nights for women’s boxing.

“The WBO champion, Volante, is good and then the WBC champion, Delfine Persoon, is very very good.

“They are all big challenges for Katie. All goes well on Saturday and she wins, then we will look for another champion in the summer and then the fourth and final belt towards the end of the year.”

Taylor made the 100-mile trip down the east coast from her training base in Connecticut to put the finishing touches to the preparation in New York this week.

Yesterday’s final press conference contained a first for the 31-year-old, as she was kissed on the cheek by her opponent following their head-to-head photograph for the assembled media.

Taylor said: “She definitely initiated that, it was a first for me.

“She seems very humble and friendly, but that all changes when she steps in the ring and this is my toughest test yet.

“But my dream has always been to become the undisputed champion and she is standing in the way right now.

“There is a lot of strength in depth in women’s boxing now, it’s better than ever, which means much harder fights all round.

“I’ve been aware of Bustos for a long time, she’s a proven champion and I’m definitely expecting a big challenge, but it’s something I’m more than prepared for.

“Of course I want to win all four belts, but trust me, my only focus at the moment is Saturday night and getting that IBF belt.”

Meanwhile, Olympic champion Michael Carruth believes that the Irish European Men’s and Women’s Youth team could be our future Olympic squad.

Ireland claimed six medals at the European Youth Championships which concluded in Roseto degli Abruzzi, Italy on Wednesday.

The squad finished fifth in the medals table at the tournament and qualified eight boxers for August’s World Youth Championships at a host city to be confirmed.

Daina Moorehouse claimed gold, Dean Clancy, Evelyn Igharo and Dearbhla Rooney silver and Lauren Kelly and Jude Gallagher won bronze.

Carruth was working Ireland’s corner with head coach Billy McClean, Mike Mongan and Anita Just in Roseto degli Abruzzi .

He said: “This was one of the biggest representations in Europe for a long time and you had to work hard for medals. It was a very high standard of boxing.

We sent over sixteen boxers and got 50% into the World Championships, it’s a pity we didn’t have a few more, and won six medals. That’s a good return in any man’s language.

“It looks very promising for Irish boxing again. In two to six years this could be our Olympic team.There were 40 nations there and we finished fifth. That’s a good step up for us.”

Meanwhile, the European Women’s Elite Championships have been pushed back a month and will begin on Sofia, Bulgaria on June 4.


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