Katie Taylor sets sights on breaking more barriers and multiple weight titles ahead of Natasha Jones fight

Medals, titles, a pioneer of the sport - but Katie Taylor still wants more

Andrew Gamble
Saturday 01 May 2021 15:52
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<p>Katie Taylor wants to continue to bridge the divide in boxing</p>

Katie Taylor wants to continue to bridge the divide in boxing

Unbeaten in 17, an Olympic gold medallist and a two-weight world champion – Katie Taylor is a force of nature.

Taylor, who has been studying the likes of Terence Crawford and ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard in an effort to hone her craft, will fight Natasha Jonas in the co-main event at the Manchester Arena tonight.

Despite her incredible resume, the Irish star suggested there are aspects of her game that can improve.

“I can definitely be better,” Taylor told Sky Sports ahead of her undisputed lightweight championship defence. “There is a lot to learn from each fight but I am making small, subtle improvements.

“It’s about slowing down, learning to relax, and not rushing the stoppage. Sitting down more on my punches.”

The 34-year-old’s Olympic moment serves as an intriguing backstory for tonight’s clash with Jonas.

The pair broke the record for the noisiest Olympic moment at the London Games – the first to allow women’s boxing – but Taylor left with bragging rights and the gold medal.

Jonas said recently that she only re-watched the agonising defeat eight years after the bout, citing her ego, pride and the hurt of missing out on immortality as the reasons why.

Her attitude is one of her great strengths, and it almost led to Jonas upsetting Terri Harper last summer in a fight that was lauded as one of the fights of the year.

Jonas is 36 years old and may never get another shot at a world championship. Despite winning each of their previous two meetings, Taylor understands the threat posed by Jonas.

Taylor added: “She is very, very aggressive. She has a great backhand, she is a solid puncher, she has a good brain, she is very smart in the ring – but I also have those things in abundance.

“I know that I’m going to be at my very, very best tomorrow night.”

As a pioneer in women’s boxing, the Irish fighter – dubbed ‘The Bray Bomber’ – is eyeing the chance to become undisputed champion in a different weight category.

In November 2019, Taylor moved up to a light-welterweight and won a world championship before immediately returning to lightweight.

However, Taylor understands that there is still much to do in ensuring her sport gets the coverage it deserves and bridging the pay gap, as well as the creation of an easier route for the next generation to follow in her footsteps.

“I’d love to become a multiple weight undisputed champion. I’d love to headline a big pay-per-view event in the future, I think that would be huge for the sport.

“Women’s boxing has broken down barriers but we have a lot more to go. When I first started as a professional boxer, the female boxers were making pennies in comparison to the male fighters. I’m very, very grateful but there’s definitely a lot of room to bridge that gap.

“I want to intensely tear down those walls for the next generation to come up, to make it easier for them.

“That, to me, is what true legacy is all about.”

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