Katie Taylor is an Irish professional boxer and former footballer. She is a two-weight world champion and the current undisputed lightweight champion, having held the WBA title since 2017; the IBF title since 2018; and the WBC, WBO, and Ring magazine titles since 2019, as well as having held the WBO junior welterweight title in 2019.
In her successful amateur boxing career, Taylor won five consecutive gold medals at the Women’s World Championships, gold six times at the European Championships, and gold five times at the European Union Championships. Hugely popular in Ireland, she is credited with raising the profile of women’s boxing at home and abroad.
Early life and family
Taylor was born and raised in Bray, County Wicklow and is the daughter of an Irish mother Bridget and British father Peter Taylor. Her father was born near Leeds and grew up in Birmingham and he first visited Bray to work with his father in the amusement arcades on Bray seafront.
Final Word. Originally an electrician by trade, Peter eventually became Katie’s full-time boxing coach. He also coached Adam Nolan who, like Katie, also represented Ireland at the 2012 Summer Olympics. Bridget also developed an interest in boxing and became one of the earliest female referees and judges in Ireland.
Between 1999 and 2005 Taylor attended St. Kilian’s Community School in Bray. Her three older siblings all attended the same school. As well as boxing and playing association football, as a schoolgirl Taylor also played ladies’ Gaelic football and camogie with her local GAA clubs, Bray Emmets and Fergal Ógs.
Amateur boxing career
Taylor first began boxing in 1998, aged 11. Her father coached her and her two older brothers, Lee and Peter, at St Fergal’s Boxing Club, which operated out of a former boathouse in Bray. At 15, she fought the first officially sanctioned female boxing match in Ireland at the National Stadium and defeated Alanna Audley from Belfast.
Professional boxing career
Taylor made her professional debut on 26 November 2016, scoring a third-round technical knockout at the Wembley Arena in London. In her second professional bout she faced Viviane Obenaufon on 10 December 2016 at the Manchester Arena, Manchester. The fight was televised live on Sky Sports Box Office as part of the undercard for the Anthony Joshua vs. Éric Molina heavyweight world title fight.
WBA lightweight champion
Taylor vs. Anahí Sánchez: Following a third-round stoppage victory via corner retirement against Jasmine Clarkson in July, Taylor faced former two-weight world champion Anahí Ester Sánchez for the vacant WBA female lightweight title on 28 October 2017 at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Sánchez was set to defend the title on the night, however, she failed to make weight for the fight and was subsequently stripped by the WBA, with the title on the line for Taylor only.
The first defence of her title came against future undisputed female welterweight champion Jessica McCaskill on 13 December at the York Hall in London. After a closely contested first round, Taylor went down to the canvas in the second in what was ruled as a slip. Taylor began to take control with her speed and power before McCaskill found success and hurt the champion in the sixth round.
Taylor vs. Victoria Bustos: Her next fight was a unification bout against reigning IBF female lightweight champion Victoria Bustos on 28 April 2018 at the Barclays Center in New York City. Taylor controlled the majority of the fight with her speed from a distance, only encountering difficulty in rounds seven and eight after engaging Bustos at close range. Taylor secured the win with a wide UD to add the IBF title to her growing collection, with two judges scoring the bout 99–91 and the third scoring it 98–92.
Taylor vs. Rose Volante: Taylor’s first fight of 2019 was another unification bout, facing WBO female lightweight champion Rose Volante on 15 March at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Taylor started the fight strong, using her combination punching and movement to take control, dropping Volante to the canvas with a right hand in the opening round. The second round saw Taylor stay behind the jab, keeping her opponent at range as Volante attempted to close the distance and fight at close quarters. Volante switched tactics in the third round, staying in the centre of the ring and waiting for Taylor to press the action.
Undisputed champion: In December 2018, Irish journalist Evanne Ní Chuilinn stated that Taylor accused Delfine Persoon of turning down a life-changing amount of money to fight her. Later Persoon claimed to have offered $100,000 to Taylor for a fight. Taylor’s manager stated that Taylor wouldn’t even get out of bed for this sum. On 15 April 2019, Taylor and Persoon agreed to a lightweight title unification bout, to take place on 1 June at Madison Square Garden as undercard for the Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz Jr. heavyweight title fight.
From the opening bell Taylor came under relentless pressure from Persoon, forcing the Irish champion to fight off the back foot and rely on counter punching. After having success in the first round, Taylor began to have difficulties with Persoon’s pressure in the second and third, with the Belgian champion employing roughhouse tactics in the clinch. Taylor suffered a cut to her forehead in the fourth round.
WBO junior-welterweight champion
Taylor vs. Christina Linardatou: For her next fight Taylor elected to move up in weight, facing WBO female junior-welterweight champion Christina Linardatou on 2 November 2019 at Manchester Arena. The champion started the fight as the aggressor, forcing Taylor to fight off the back foot. The Irish challenger found success at the end of the round with two solid right hands as the bell rang. Taylor started to find her rhythm in the second round, scoring punches while using her fast footwork to make her opponent miss.
Taylor vs. Persoon II: Taylor was scheduled to defend her lightweight titles against seven-division world champion and current WBO and WBC interim female featherweight champion Amanda Serrano on 2 May 2020 at the Manchester Arena. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the bout was postponed and rescheduled to 4 July, with the venue changing to the Matchroom Sports headquarters in Brentwood, Essex. The bout was once again postponed, with a new proposed date of 22 August. After negotiations began to break down, Taylor’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, revealed he was in talks with Delfine Persoon’s team to secure a rematch for the 22 August date.
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