Katie Taylor says she faces the first hurdle of a potentially “monumental” year as she meets Rose Volante in a World Lightweight unification clash at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, PA on Friday March 15, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.
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IBF and WBA ruler Taylor (12-0 5 KOs) looks to unify for a second time against the Brazilian WBO champion Volante (14-0 8 KOs) having added the IBF strap to her WBA belt in April in Brooklyn, New York beating Victoria Bustos and now places those belts on the line for the fourth time.
The Irish favorite can take a step closer to her goal of becoming the undisputed champion on St. Patrick’s weekend, with a summer showdown with WBC ruler Delfine Persoon on the cards to enable Taylor to own all four belts at 135lbs.
A clash with seven-weight World champion Amanda Serrano later in the year appeals to the 32 year old, as does a meeting with long-time undisputed Welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus – with Taylor plotting a sensational 2019.
“This could be a monumental year for me, the biggest of my career both amateur and pro,” said Taylor. “I believe that by the end of the year I can look back at being the undisputed Lightweight champion and have had huge fights with Amanda and Cecilia. They want those fights as well, but I have to keep winning and everyone raises their game when they fight me.
“When I sat down with Eddie Hearn a few years ago and talked about turning pro, the one thing we talked about was to fight 3/4 times a year and he’s never let me down, I’m fighting regularly and they are great fights too. I have the chance to win my third World title belt inside two years as a pro, and I’d love to have four fights again this year, but Rose is the only fight in front of me.
“Rose is a great champion. She’s strong and has a big right hand, she’s undefeated too so she’s a proud fighter and she’s chasing the same prize as me. We want each other’s belts and unbeaten records, but I have had a great camp and I am full of confidence. I think I am getting better and i think it will show on the night. This could be a very physical fight and I am prepared for that.
“I’m at 135 now and I make the weight very comfortably. I could move up to 140lbs but 147? That could be a stretch but maybe I could make it; but anything past that I am not big enough for – so Welterweight would be my maximum. I couldn’t go down from 135, I love food too much!
“My speed is going to be key in these big fights and I think that technically I am better than a lot of the other girls as well. I feel I have a great team around me, the best coach in the world in Ross Enamait, I feel so prepared going into every fight. But each one is harder than the last and I am aware of that, but I have a lot of confidence and belief in myself, I really feel that no-one can beat me.”
Taylor’s clash with Volante is part of a massive night of action as local hero Tevin Farmer (28-4-1 6 KOs) defends his IBF World Super-Featherweight title against Ireland’s Jono Carroll (16-0-1 3 KOs).
Philadelphia Middleweight warrior Gabriel Rosado (24-11-1 14 KOs) faces Poland’s Maciej Sulecki (27-1 11 KOs) for the WBO International title and a likely World title shot at Demetrius Andrade, Philly Lightweight’s Hank Lundy (29-7-1 14 KOs) and Avery Sparrow (9-1 3 KOs) battle for local pride, Olympic gold medal pair Luke Campbell MBE (19-2 15 KOs) and Daniyar Yeleussinov (5-0 3 KOs) and silver medalist John Joe Nevin (11-0 4 KOs) taste their first action of 2019, unbeaten Super-Middleweight D’Mitrius Ballard (19-0 12 KOs) faces Victor Fonseca (17-9-1 14 KOs) while exciting New Jersey amateur star Raymond Ford makes his pro debut.