Katie Taylor has not yet made her debut, but the Bray boxer is arguably already the biggest name in the women’s super featherweight division. With professional boxing, there is a natural desire to put forward a rival to compare, contrast, and measure against, and Taylor herself admits that there is one name already that she is looking at in particular.
The current 130lbs champions include Finland’s Eva Wahlstrom (whom Taylor soundly defeated at the 2006 World Championships) holds the WBC belt, Frenchwoman Maiva Hamadouche is IBF champ, Ramona Kuehne of Germany currently possesses the WBO belt, and South Korean Hyun Mi Choi is champion with the WBA.
All are potential opponents down the line, however there is another fighter in the division who is a more recognisable name (for Irish fans) and ready-made rival for Taylor.
Sofya Ochigava, defeated by Taylor in the 2012 Olympic final, turned pro earlier this year and is currently 2(0)-0. The Russian gave Taylor plenty of tough fights throughout their amateur careers and even became something of a villain in London by claiming the Irishwoman received favourable treatment, as well as through her general sulkiness at the medal ceremony. Away from the bright lights, the pair do share a sporting friendship, and spent some time sparring earlier this year, but Taylor can foresee a renewed rivalry in the pros.
“There’s a few rivalries out there already,” Taylor explained, “I beat Sofya Ochigava at London 2012, she has turned pro and she’s an excellent fighter.”
“We always got on but obviously when the rivalry starts you naturally keep your distance a bit.”
“But she’s a great girl and a fantastic boxer, and if we did fight again down the line it would be a huge event for women’s boxing.”
Taylor debuts tonight, live on Sky Sports 2, at the Wembley Arena against Polish journeywoman Karina Kopinska.