Katie Taylor’s return to the ring this weekend is set to kickstart a busy run of at least seven fights this year for the former Olympic champion.
The Bray woman is back in action for her third professional bout on Saturday in London, taking on Italian lightweight Monica Gentili in a contest scheduled for six rounds on the undercard of the Sky Box Office heavyweight clash between David Haye and Tony Bellew at London’s O2 Arena.
The 30-year-old is likely to fight again in Manchester on March 25, while Taylor has already secured an undercard bout in support of the world heavyweight title clash between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Arena on April 29.
“One every two weeks,” joked manager Brian Peters when quizzed on how busy Taylor’s 2017 fight schedule will be. “Katie wants two a month. We’d planned for six or seven [this year], but it looks like we’ll probably overcome that,” added Peters on a more serious note.
The five-time world amateur champion hopes to book a homecoming date in Ireland by the end of the year, while Taylor explained she is keen to fight regularly in an effort to boost her pro experience as she aims for a world professional title shot.
“I think my goal is to fight for a world title at some stage this year but, obviously, I need to have a couple of 10 round fights lined up before that,” she said at a media event in Meath yesterday. “I can’t just go straight into a world-title fight. It’s definitely going to be a busy year for me, a busy few months.”
Having come through her first two paid bouts in the last two months of 2016, Taylor’s six-round clash with 39-year-old Gentili (6-6) will be the first date on a whirlwind 2017 fight tour with the fight set for the 135lb lightweight limit.
“I’ve seen a few videos of her. She’s an experienced girl - six loses, but she’s definitely going to come to fight,” said Taylor on Gentili — a replacement for her original opponent, Bulgarian world-title challenger Milena Koleva, who pulled out due to a chest infection.
With such a busy schedule lined up, Taylor claimed she does not anticipate any problem finding willing opponents despite her fearsome decorated amateur career.
“Not really. I think they are all out to get me quite honestly — they’re all queuing up for me,” said Taylor laughing as she insisted her hectic plans are not based on any eagerness to retire any time soon.
“I don’t put a time limit on anything. I’ll probably be like Rocky, 53 and I’ll still be boxing,” said the 2012 Olympic champion, whose fight date in Ireland is likely to be delayed due to potential dates in the US and a keen interest from American TV networks, though Taylor recently saw a mooted fight date in New York’s Madison Square Garden scrapped.
Promoter Eddie Hearn had talked up the possibility of Taylor fighting on the undercard of Gennady Golovkin’s middleweight world-title defence on St Patrick’s Day, but the fact that Sky Sports will not broadcast that fight card dashed any hopes of the Irishwoman featuring on the bill.
“That fight wasn’t really confirmed, so I didn’t have my heart set on it,” said Taylor.
“It doesn’t really matter to me where I box. It’s just important to me to stay busy at the moment,” added the Bray woman, who recently completed a gruelling seven-week training camp at trainer Ross Enamait’s camp in Vernon, Connecticut.
The decorated amateur also lamented the loss of Eddie Bolger from Irish boxing as it was yesterday confirmed the Wexford coach has resigned from the High Performance Unit to take up an offer to become Germany’s head coach.
“It is a big loss,” said Taylor. “He [Bolger] has obviously been a big influence in amateur boxing over the last few years and all the boxers have a great relationship with Eddie as well.
“It is another big loss for amateur boxing — especially [for] Joe Ward [who was personally coached by Bolger]. It is a great opportunity for Eddie, but a big loss.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved