| 3.4°C Dublin

undefeated Katie Taylor retains her world titles with classy performance in Liverpool

The three ringside judges scored the contest 98-92, 97-92, 96-93 in favour of the Bray fighter.

Close

11 December 2021; Katie Taylor after her Undisputed Lightweight Championship bout against Firuza Sharipova at M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool, England. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

11 December 2021; Katie Taylor after her Undisputed Lightweight Championship bout against Firuza Sharipova at M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool, England. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

11 December 2021; Katie Taylor after her Undisputed Lightweight Championship bout against Firuza Sharipova at M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool, England. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Katie Taylor remains boxing’s golden girl after successfully defending her status as the undisputed lightweight world champion for a fifth time at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool.

She fashioned a unanimous points victory over her latest challenger Firuza Sharipova from Kazakhstan to remain the WBA, WBC, WBO, IBF and Ring Magazine lightweight champion of the world.

The three ringside judges scored the contest 98-92, 97-92, 96-93 in favour of the Bray fighter. Though it wasn’t a vintage performance from the champion it proved sufficient against a brave opponent who lacked champion’s technical skills.

As well as being her fifth successful defence of her undisputed title; it was her 12th defence of the WBA belt she won in 2017 – technically the fight was a mandatory defence of that title; the tenth defence of her IBF belt, the sixth of her WBO title and the fifth of the WBC belt won in Madison Square Garden in June 2019.

She also found time to win the WBO version of the super lightweight world title in what has been a remarkable five-year career as a professional.

Taylor probably won’t win the RTE Sports Personality of the Year, but she is arguably the most admired and possibly the most influential Irish sports star on the planet.

She has changed the face of women’s professional boxing and is the only female fighter to become a millionaire on the back of her success in the ring. And in terms of earnings the best has yet to come.

Close

Katie Taylor and Firuza Sharipova exchange punches

Katie Taylor and Firuza Sharipova exchange punches

Katie Taylor and Firuza Sharipova exchange punches

Provided Amanda Serrano wins next weekend in Tampa, Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn has his sights set on promoting a multi-million-dollar showdown between the pair in Madison Square Garden, New York next April.

It will be the richest fight in the history of women’s boxing with both boxers guaranteed purses of over one million dollars each.

Hearn fretted in advance of the fight in case the unknown Kazakh fighter ruined his plans.

But as is her wont, Taylor yet again delivered when it mattered – though it wasn’t as convincing as her fans would have liked.

Liverpool became the fifth British city after London, Manchester, Cardiff, and Leeds to welcome the Irish heroine and she received a rapturous reception from the Scouse boxing fans as There She Goes was played on the PA.

England’s John Latham was the third person in the ring as the action got under way. Sharipova stood and held her ground which left her vulnerable to Taylor’s faster hands. But there were precious few scoring shots lands in the opening two minutes.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

Sharipova stayed on her toes kept coming forward but back medalled rapidly when Taylor caught her. Meanwhile, her corner and the fight stewards became embroiled in a dispute about water being left on the canvas.

Taylor went on the offensive for the first time at the start of the time connecting with left and right hooks and Sharipova found it difficult to judge the distance and failed to land any significant shots though she was visibly displeased when Taylor caught her marginally late as the bell sounded.

Taylor again found the target with her left hook early in the fourth but surprisingly she opted not to attack Sharipova’s body. The referee had a stern word with the Kazakh fighter for holding.

The fighters went up close up and personal at the start of the fifth and Taylor looked to be marginally better in the close exchanges and Sharipova was on the receiving end of another tongue lashing from the referee for holding.

Sharipova’s face had started to mark at the end of the fifth and the Kazakh was holding her own Taylor appeared to be edging the contest.

It was more of the same in the sixth with Taylor marginally the better and Sharipova had a point deducted when she hit Taylor after the referee ordered them to break.

In truth it was a scrappy contest and Sharipova found the range with an uppercut as the pair grappled more than they boxed. The Kazakh’s unorthodox tactics troubled Taylor though she finally broke free and landed a couple of scoring shots in the last ten seconds of the round.

Into the championship rounds and the pace finally drops as the fighters keep their distance and it turned onto an even round which the three ringside judges would be difficulty adjudicating on.

Taylor went back to boxing in the ninth round which suited her better given her superior hand speed but as the round progressed Sharipova found her range though Taylor had the final say catching the Kazakh in her corner.

Sharipova probably knew she needed a knockout to secure the contest and she certainly went all out in the final two minutes and Taylor was forced to hang on and in a brilliant finish the pair just stood and exchanged blows.

And as the result was announced ‘Fairytale of New York’ rang out in the stadium as the crowd celebrated another Taylor success.

But amidst all the euphoria there were worrying signs that Taylor may have passed her peak just at a time when huge challenges are coming down the tracks.

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices


Top Videos





Privacy