Taylor facing ’toughest fight’

Back in pro action for the fourth time in just over four months, Katie Taylor steps up to eight rounds for her “toughest fight to date in the pro ranks” at the Manchester Arena tonight. 

Former world-title challenger Milena Koleva is the Bray woman’s opponent as Taylor prepares to box in a scheduled eight-rounder for the first time as a professional. The 30-year-old’s three previous bouts were set for six two-minute rounds, with only one of those fights going the distance.

“It’s a good progression and this girl is very good, she’s definitely going to be my toughest fight in the pro ranks,” said Taylor on 28-year-old opponent Kolvea, who carries a 9-7-1 record.

“She’s going to be a good challenge for me and the fact that I’m stepping it up to eight rounds as well is a good step.”

Koleva suffered a ninth-round stoppage defeat in her last fight - a world-title tilt against home champion Maiva Hamadouche at the 130lb super-featherweight limit in France.

While the Bulgarian has lost seven times in her 17-fight career, that January defeat was the only time she has been stopped, with the majority of her points losses coming against ‘home’ fighters on away soil.

“Her record doesn’t really give her too much justice,” said Taylor ahead of the lightweight (135lb) contest. “She should be more like a 14-2 because she had a few bad hometown decisions [against her],” added the Bray woman on her opponent, who also has Mixed Martial Arts experience.

But Taylor insisted that she has does not expect Koleva to have an overly-aggressive style.

“I didn’t realise that [about Kolvea’s MMA experience], but I wouldn’t say I’d be worried about anything like that at all,” said Taylor. “I’m sure it [her style] is nothing I haven’t faced before in the ring, so that wouldn’t be on my mind, I wouldn’t be concerned about anything like that.” Taylor flew to Manchester on Wednesday after flying to Dublin from her Connecticut training base last Friday alongside trainer Ross Enamait.

The 30-year-old went back into training less than 48 hours after her stoppage win over Monica Gentili in London three weeks ago, but Enamait has carefully managed Taylor’s schedule ahead due to her busy fight plan.

“The first couple of days we just eased into it, we didn’t go straight back into hard training straight away,” explained Taylor on her preparation. “When there’s a quick turnover like that, you have to be careful with your training as well but Ross knows exactly what he’s doing and I just kind of went with the flow,” added the former Olympic champ, whose bout is expected to be broadcast live on Sky Sports 1 ahead of the main-event world lightweight title clash between Jorge Linares and Anthony Crolla tonight.


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