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Katie Taylor claims knockout World Title Unification win over Rose Volante

Katie Taylor is now just one win away from becoming the undisputed lightweight champion of the world.

The Wicklow woman destroyed Rose Volante tonight in Philadelphia to add the WBO title to the WBA and IBF belts which already adorned her waist.

Chief support to Jono Carroll’s challenge of IBF super featherweight champion and home favourite Tevin Farmer, Taylor put on a show at the Liacouras Center live on Sky Sports and DAZN where she scored a ninth-round knockout.

While the fight was a chance for the Bray boxer to become Ireland’s first ever three-belt champion, the history took a back seat and the fight was framed as one to set up a clash for ‘all the marbles’ versus long-reigning WBC titlist Delfine Persoon in New York this summer.

The big Belgian held up her end of the bargain last week, stopping mandatory challenger Melissa St. Vil, and Taylor would follow this up with her own dominant display which should lead to an undisputed fight on June 1st in one of the chief support bouts of Anthony Joshua’s heavyweight title defence versus Jarrell Miller at Madison Square Garden.

Taylor had preached caution going into the Volante clash as the Brazilian brought brute force to the table but the Irishwoman was able to match her throughout, mixing it up and boxing at range, outboxing and outmuscling her physically imposing foe, eventually forcing a stoppage late on.

A fight that was due to take place in December only for negotiations to stall and Eva Wahlstrom to save the day, it would begin furiously.

Volante came out looping big shots but Taylor would keep her range before popping off short counters and knocking Volante down with a sneaky right inside. All talk of playing it safe momentarily went out the window as Taylor went in for the kill and launched flurries at the 36-year-old Brazilian, staggering her again at the bell.

The danger of Volante, however, was more than hinted at in the second when she caught Taylor moving out with her hands down. The 32-year-old Wicklow woman would be up close for much of the stanza landing plenty but did ship a few hooks – and a late slip to the canvas in the corner had some gasping.

By round three we were veering into war territory with both landing heavy. Taylor would, eventually, start judging the distance better and walked the Sao Paolo native onto some clean shots.

Taylor began to tee off on Volante in the fourth, the speed disparity allowing her to land some snapping lead right hands.

The Olympic gold medallist switched to the body at the start of the fifth and Volante’s hands would drop – allowing Taylor to land salvos upstairs. The South American’s legs became lead and Taylor would start to do serious damage with Volante having to hang on as we entered the second half of the fight.

The PanAmerican silver medallist looked forlorn at the break, and referee Benji Estevez was an interested observer but we would move into the sixth and the assault continued. Bleeding from the mouth, Volante took shot after shot, the fight beaten out of her by the methodical Matchroom fighter.

The left hooks kept coming from Taylor in the seventh as Volante would show her grit whilst the pace of ‘KT’ would notably slow, perhaps to enable a big finish.

This theory would seem to be correct, with Taylor flying out of the blocks in the eighth and landing an extended series of punches that had Volante rocking. Again going back to the body, Taylor forced Volante to really dig in as she survived another stanza.

Really looking for the stoppage, Taylor lashed in hooks in the penultimate round and finally made the breakthrough, forcing Volante backwards and leading to the referee waving off the bout.

A headclash right before the stoppage had caused damage to Volante’s nose but, by then, her race was run and Taylor would take the pink belt from her grasp.

The dominant win sees Taylor improve to 13(6)-0 while the game but outgunned Volante drops to 14(8)-1(1).

There will be no rest, or at least very little, for Taylor who will be straight back to camp with Ross Enamait in Vernon, Connecticut for Persoon and June 1st should the fight, as expected, be confirmed.


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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