Katie Taylor to fight for first title on Joshua-Klitschko Wembley undercard?

Katie Taylor [4(2)-0] looks set to fight for her first professional title at the end of this month, with confirmation expected within the next couple of days.

It is widely known that the Wicklow lightweight will box on the massive Anthony Joshua v Wladimir Klitschko pay-per-view undercard at Wembley Stadium on Saturday April 29th.

This information had been revealed as early as January, with Taylor’s manager Brian Peters and promoter Eddie Hearn both verbally reconfirming her presence on the heavyweight world title bill last month.

However, a formal announcement from Matchroom Promotions was never made.

Considering how early it was when details of her appearance on the bill became known, and Taylor having two fight dates in March, this lack of a formal announcement is not unusual.

Now however, recent comments made by Hearn strongly point to a title fight for Taylor in two weeks time, a title fight which could be announced tomorrow.

During one of his regular extended interviews with IFL TV, Hearn discussed the upcoming Joshua-Klitschko card.

The English promoter confirmed that it would be a seven-fight bill – the headline bout, three title fights, and three GB Rio 2016 Olympians.

These seven fights are:
Anthony Joshua v Wladimir Klitschko – IBF & WBA Heavyweight title
Luke Campbell v Darleys Perez – WBC Silver Lightweight title
Scott Quigg v Viorel Simion – WBA International Featherweight title
Laurence Okolie
Joe Cordina
Josh Kelly
…and another title fight which Hearn said will be announced on Tuesday (tomorrow).

Unless we are set to be disappointed with news that Taylor is no longer on the Wembley card, it certainly looks likely that the Olympic gold medalist will box for a title on the bill.

In the same interview Hearn did not specify what title, however he did describe the fighter in gender neutral terms, saying that they are “one of the biggest stars at what they do.” In terms of women’s boxing, this criteria definitely applies to Katie Taylor.

While Hearn did say, a little over three weeks ago, that it was unlikely that Taylor would box for more than six rounds on the Wembley bill, the added twenty minutes or so of a title fight could surely be factored in.

It should be noted that rumours on social media suggest that Belfast’s Ryan Burnett will challenge for Lee Haskins’s IBF bantamweight title on the bill, with the Bristol boxing promising an announcement soon. However, such a fight, and the prospect of building and hyping a world title contest in just ten days, seems unlikely.

In terms of what belt Taylor may be fighting for, a world title can be ruled out, with the centre-stage homecoming in Dublin this November remaining the plan.

Some recent movements suggest that it may in fact be the EBU European lightweight title which Taylor boxes for in just under two weeks time.

Following her stoppage win of Monica Gentili and eight-round points win over Milena Koleva, the Bray boxer entered the most recent European lightweight rankings, published last week, at #3.

Interestingly, the belt looks set to become vacant, with current champ Ewa Brodnicka of Poland moving down to super featherweight to box for a WBO title next month.

Ranked #2 is Elfi Philips, however the Belgian has a fight lined up for next month, leaving the #1 ranked Madagascar-born Italian Anita Torti [10(3)-6(1)-1] as the most likely opponent should this route be chosen.

The 41 year old is a former Italian champion, beating Taylor foe Gentili twice, and has unsuccessfully challenged for the European belt thrice, losing to current IBF super featherweight champ Maiva Hamadouche twice and, most recently, Brodnicka.

Of course, the blue belt is just one possibility, and Taylor perhaps could be fighting for a rankings title for one of the four major governing bodies to help set the Irishwoman up for a world title fight later in the year.

Whether it is disappointment or a title fight, it is hoped that there will be Katie Taylor April 29th confirmation soon.

Watch Eddie Hearn’s interview with IFL TV in full below:

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie