If Katie Taylor [11(5)-0] can navigate the toughest test of her pro career this Saturday night she will set up a bumper 2019 that could see her become the greatest female professional boxer of all time.
The Bray lightweight defends her WBA and IBF titles at Madison Square Garden in New York this weekend versus Eva Wahlstrom [22(3)-0-1].
A former top amateur, undefeated as a pro, a reigning super featherweight champion, and one who Taylor has had little time to prepare for specifically, the Finnish fighter should provide Taylor with a proper test.
The Bray boxer’s proposed break-through fight versus Cindy Serrano in October was something of a damp squib as the Puerto Rican refused to show even a modicum of aggression but Wahlstrom looks set to bring something entirely different.
The long-time WBC 130lbs champion will, therefore, hopefully, be the first in a series of massive fights for Taylor on the lucrative DAZN platform.
Promoter Eddie Hearn even has the 32-year-old’s next four fights in mind and it looks as though 2019 could be a scarcely believable year.
The Matchroom boss wants Taylor to unify with WBO champion Rose Volante in March before an undisputed fight with Delfine Persoon in the summer, a grudge match with potential seven-weight champion Amanda Serrano in Autumn, and a history-making fight with Cecilia Brækhus next Christmas.
Hearn outlined how “we are trying to get her to fight the WBO champion Rose Volante in the United States in March – we are just negotiating at the moment.”
“Then hopefully Katie will fight Delfine Persoon for the WBC and undisputed title, before taking on Amanda Serrano and Cecilia Brækhus.”
Brazilian Volante [14(8)-0] had been the favoured opponent for this weekend’s bout but a deal could not be reached in time.
Belgian Persoon [42(17)-1(1)] has long been seen as the main woman in the division and she defended her belt for an eighth time at the weekend when she stopped Kenyan Judy Waguthii in the tenth round.
Six-weight champion Serrano [35(26)-1(0)-1], younger sister of Cindy, has recently linked up with Matchroom and will attempt to become a seven-weight champion next time out versus WBO super fly titlist Raja Amasheh before moving back up to face Taylor.
Then there is Norwegian Brækhus [35(9)-0], the ‘First Lady’ of boxing, the undefeated, undisputed welterweight champion, who has stated her openness to meeting Taylor at light welterweight for an historic contest.
Of course, Taylor must first overcome the substantial challenge of Wahlstrom and Hearn admits that “this will be Katie’s toughest fight to date.”
“Wahlstrom is undefeated in 23 fights and a WBC super-featherweight world champion.”