Katie Taylor set to face unbeaten World Champion on Canelo undercard


While her appearance on the card is technically unconfirmed at present, Katie Taylor will fight at Madison Square Garden next month.

The Wicklow lightweight is set to defend her WBA and IBF titles on the big Canelo Alvarez v Rocky Fielding DAZN ‘blockbuster’ undercard at the famous New York venue on Saturday December 15th.

The fight date is just over two weeks away and, with her place on the bill still unconfirmed, it was feared that Taylor [11(5)-0] may struggle to get a top opponent.

The Irishwoman’s team had hoped for a unification with WBO titleholder Rose Volante but the Brazilian opted against the fight – leaving manager Brian Peters and promoter Eddie Hearn with a window of time that is not conducive to securing a quality foe.

However, the stars seem to have aligned to provide Taylor a fight with an unbeaten world champion and former amateur rival.

It is being reported today that Finland’s WBC super featherweight champion Eva Wahstrom [22(3)-0-1] is set to jump up a weight class and take on Taylor.

Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat revealed today that the bout is close to being agreed, with Wahlstrom’s manager, Petri Paimander going on record saying that “the match is very likely.”

The 38-year-old was due to box in St Petersburg next month, defending her 130lbs belt versus Russian Firuza Sharipova. However, this fight has fallen through and, already deep in camp, Wahlstrom has elected to answer the call to face Taylor.

Taylor fought Wahlstrom 13 years ago in Tønsberg, Norway, in the final of the European Championships where she edged the Finn 19-17 under the old scoring system to win her first of six continental golds. The pair met the following year at the World Championships in New Delhi where Taylor won via second-round stoppage under the old ‘outclassed’ rule.

As a pro, Wahlstrom won and defended the European super featherweight title before claiming the WBC crown in 2015 with a win over Natalia Aguirre. Since then, over a year before Taylor even turned pro, she has defended the belt four times, most recently versus American Melissa St Vil in April.

The pair share three common pro opponents. Wahlstrom was held to an early-career draw by Milena Kovleva, the former world title challenger whom Taylor defeated in her fourth fight, and also went the distance with Karina Kopinska who the Bray boxer stopped inside three.

At world title level, bout have outpointed Argentinian Anahi Esther Sanchez.

Last time out, last month in Boston, 32-year-old Taylor dominated former WBO featherweight champion Cindy Serrano over ten one-sided rounds at the TD Garden.

Official confirmation of the December 15th bout is hoped for in the very near future.

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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