Sport

Video - Katie Taylor sparring ahead of professional debut

Taylor to make her pro debut on November 26th
Taylor to make her pro debut on November 26th

KATIE Taylor is being fast-tracked towards her first world title fight as a professional boxer at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium next summer, in ambitious plans laid out by her new promoter Eddie Hearn.

Taylor turned professional under the guidance of Hearn last Thursday and the acclaimed promoter is mapping out an exciting career path for the Irish icon that could end up with her being crowned as a world champion on home soil.

In an exclusive interview with the Sunday World, Hearn has revealed that he is dreaming of staging a show that will see Taylor topping the bill in front of a sell-out stadium crowd.

“Katie will be making her professional debut at Wembley Arena on November 26th and I don’t think it’s unrealistic for her to be fighting for a world title in a Dublin stadium next summer,” Hearn tells us.

“My office in London has been inundated with interest since we confirmed Katie has turned professional with us and the excitement around this confirms that the appetite is there for women’s boxing now that maybe wasn’t there a few years ago.

“It’s an education for me as a promoter because I have not worked with a woman boxer before and we are learning a lot of this from scratch, but what a great adventure for all of us.

“I only needed to spend a couple of hours with Katie the other day to get very excited about the journey we are about to embark on together.

“Katie is a wonderful boxer and never mind that she is a woman, she will promote this sport with her performances in these first few fights.

“We all know what the people of Ireland think of her, but I am hoping that her talents appeal to a wide audience in the UK and beyond and we are about to find out of that is the case.

“If this goes as I think it will, we believe that in three or four fights, we could look at getting Katie into the mix for a world title fight.

“Should that happen, there is no doubt in my mind that she could he be the headline fight at a stadium in Dublin. What a prospect.”

Hearn has transformed the boxing landscape in Britain over the last few years, with his success in selling 80,000 tickets for the Carl Froch v George Groves rematch at Wembley Stadium in May 2014 cementing his status as the sport’s premier promoter.

Now, after guiding London 2012 gold medalist Anthony Joshua towards the world heavyweight title in just his 16th fight, he is eyeing up another rapid elevation for an Olympic boxing hero after recruiting Taylor.

“After this first fight, we will get Katie on the Anthony Joshua undercard on December 10th at the 02 Arena and I will put her high up on the bill because there seems to be a huge appetite to see her in action,” confirmed Hearn.

“Not for one second am I looking at this as some kind of gimmick to have women boxing on our cards.

“This is sport at the highest level and Katie Taylor is the best person in the world to promote women’s boxing.”

Meanwhile, Hearn has poured cold water on suggestions that Ireland’s other great fighting hero Conor McGregor could successfully switch sports and make a success of a boxing career, after months of rumours linking him with a fight against boxing legend Floyd Mayweather.

“While McGregor is a wonderful promoter of himself and a super MMA fighter, he would have no chance against any serious boxer right now,” added Hearn.

“He is an elite level performer with the UFC and a wonderful exponent of that art, but he would be at amateur level if he ever tried to get into a boxing ring.

“I never believed the rumours he was going to have a fight with Mayweather for a second. It was all hype and that is what those two guys are very good at.

“Katie Taylor has a much better chance of becoming a professional boxing champion than McGregor at this moment.”

Taylor has set up a training camp with respected boxing guru Ross Enamait in America in recent days ahead of her London debut next month, and he has posted this  video of her in sparring action which confirms the fire that was missing from her boxing at the 2016 Rio Olympics last summer is back in abundance.