KATIE TAYLOR HAS to get two UK fight dates out of the way first, but Michael Conlan’s Stateside debut has the Bray woman eagerly anticipating her first fight in the US this summer.
Taylor, now 3-0 as a pro, is back in action tomorrow, taking on Bulgarian Milena Koleva at the Manchester Arena as the Bray woman takes to the ring for the fourth time in a little over four months.
The bout, which features on the undercard of a world lightweight title clash between Anthony Crolla and Jorge Linares on Sky Sports, is essentially a rescheduled fight as Koleva (9-7-1) had originally been lined up to meet the former Olympic champion earlier this month.
Illness forced the 28-year-old to pull out of that London date, with Taylor instead fighting replacement opponent Monica Gentlili, who was stopped in five rounds at the O2 Arena.
Should Taylor come through tomorrow’s fight as expected, the 30-year-old’s hectic schedule is set to see her fight again on April 29 in support of Anthony Joshua’s world heavyweight title defence against Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley. Following that, promoter Eddie Hearn plans on shipping his leading female fighter across the Atlantic for her US debut.
And after seeing former amateur team-mate Conlan pack out Madison Square Garden’s Theater last Friday night for his stoppage win over Tim Ibarra in front of a raucous Irish crowd, Taylor is now keen to get a taste of a big US fight night.
“I watched Michael’s fight on RTÉ the next day, it was fantastic. The atmosphere looked brilliant – what a debut,” said Taylor, who was travelling home to her Connecticut training base when Conlan was in the ring.
“I was travelling on Paddy’s Day so we got back on the 18th,” explained the 2012 Olympic champion.
“I wasn’t able to watch it live, but the minute I got off the plane I was looking up the results and it was great that they were showing it (on RTÉ) the next evening.
“It was pretty insane for him to have his debut at Madison Square Garden, Conor McGregor walking him into the ring on Paddy’s Day – it was absolutely incredible to watch,” added Taylor, who had been mooted to fight on the following night’s New York card headlined by Gennady Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs.
While promotional politics scuppered that plan, Taylor is expected to fight Stateside in the summer.
“Yeah, definitely that would be incredible,” said the Bray woman on the prospect of following Conlan’s lead by fighting on a big US card this summer.
“I suppose I had a bit of a taste for a big event like that from boxing at the London Olympics in the final, but it would be great to box in an iconic venue in the States and to have such a big crowd behind me as well,” she added.
Koleva, who is nicknamed “Hell’s Baby”, carries a 9-7-1 record, while she unsuccessfully challenged for the IBF world super-featherweight title in her last bout, losing out in the ninth round to home champion Maiva Hamadouche in France.
That was the Bulgarian’s sole stoppage defeat in seven losses and she will represent another gradual step up for Taylor, who is scheduled to box over eight rounds for the first time tomorrow night.
“I’ve seen a few clips of her and Ross (Enamait, trainer) obviously has all the fight videos as well so he’s been studying her for the last couple of weeks,” said Taylor.
“I expect a tough fight. She’s very strong, very durable and I expect her to be there for the eight rounds,” added the Bray woman.