Katie Taylor [15(6)-0] picked up the latest in a long line of accolades last night in Manchester but promoter Eddie Hearn is aware that boxing politics will soon become a headache.
The Bray fighter defeated Christina Linardatou at the Manchester Arena to claim the WBO light welterweight title – her fifth major belt following her full unification of the lightweight crown.
A widely-demanded rematch with Delfine Persoon, a clash with controversial seven-weight champ Amanda Serrano, and an undisputed v undisputed showdown with Cecilia Brækhus are all on the agenda.
However, as significant as these bouts all are, none would satisfy the various governing bodies in terms of mandatory obligations – and Matchroom boss Hearn would make clear that big fights are more important than belts at this stage of proceedings.
The winner of the WBA regular title fight between Miriam Gutierrez and Keren Batiz as well as WBC mandatory Chantelle Cameron are breathing down the next of Taylor and the Wicklow legend may have to vacate some of her belts to sidestep and enable more lucrative match-ups.
Speaking at the post-fight press conference in Manchester last night, Hearn said “I think the biggest problems that Katie will have is the mandatories in the lightweight situation.”
“Now, going into a new division where there won’t be that pressure, soon the WBC will say ‘right, you’ve got to fight her’, and the IBF will say ‘this is your mandatory’, and eventually you can’t just keep holding onto the undisputed title whilst you’re fighting these mandatories that might not be that important to you.”
“Although she won’t want to give up any belts, at some point it’s hard not to – unless you want to take fights that actually aren’t the right fights, if that makes sense.”
“Chantelle Cameron is a really good, young fighter. No disrespect to her, because you want to give the young fighters coming through that opportunity one day. But, right now, the focus is on those three, four, five [major] fights.”
“That’s why moving to 140 takes that stress away because she won’t have two or three mandatories she has to face.”
There has been talk, too, of unifying the light welterweight class. Currently former foe Jessica McCaskill holds the WBA and WBC straps while the vacant IBF belt will soon be contested by Ana Laura Esteche and Mary McGee. If these three can become one, a showdown with Taylor becomes attractive.
However, while there is business to be done at 140lbs, it is by no means a permanent move – with the Persoon and Serrano matches being targeted for lightweight, belts or no belts.
Hearn noted how “for me, those fights should be made at 135.”
“Serrano has made it clear that she wants that fight at 135, Persoon’s at 135, Katie makes 135 comfortably.”
“Really, the only reason she’s gone to 140 is to make more history, she doesn’t need to do that, it’s just another challenge.