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'We wanted someone who’s going to challenge me but no-one stepped up to the plate'

Ahead of her US debut, a frustrated Katie Taylor admits she’s growing tired of fighters who are refusing to take her on.

KATIE TAYLOR MAY be facing relatively easy opposition on her US debut tonight, but the five-time world champion is not pulling her verbal punches ahead of her Brooklyn bout.

An undercard date in support of Mikey Garcia’s light-welterweight clash against Adrien Broner at the Barclays Center will be a promising shop window for the Bray woman as US broadcasters Showtime are set to stream the bill on their website Stateside, while Sky Sports will have delayed coverage sometime after 1am tonight.

But a frustrating search for opponents has led to fighting talk from the undefeated Taylor (5-0) ahead of her sixth professional bout.

The London 2012 Olympic champion will take on American Jasmine Clarkson, who was only confirmed as Taylor’s opponent earlier this week. A 22-year-old, Clarke carries a losing 4-8 record and is coming off the back of a points loss to her fellow Texan Kimberly Connor earlier this month.

And Taylor has lashed out at her unwilling competition as it is believed that up to 20 fighters were approached by her team to take the Brooklyn fight before Clarkson agreed.

Katie Taylor and Nina Meinke Source: Lawrence Lustig; ©INPHO/Lawrence Lustig/INPHO

“It’s not the opponent I really wanted for this weekend,” admitted Taylor.

We wanted someone who’s going to challenge me and someone with a good winning record, but unfortunately no-one stepped up to the plate and the fight was offered to bigger names but they wouldn’t take it, so there’s nothing I can do about that really.

“This girl is the only one who would take the fight and she is to be respected because of that. What can I do if no-one else takes it? These girls need to step up to the plate and you’d think they’d be raring to go for a big fight and a big opportunity.”

It is believed that Connor (13-3-2) is among a number of boxers to have turned down offers to fight Taylor, while the likes of Brooklyn-based Melissa St Vil (9-2-4) and ‘Bolivian Queen’ Jennifer Salinas (20-4) are other fighters with winning records understood to have rebuffed the opportunity.

While Taylor did not mention or confirm any names, the Bray woman said: “If you turn down those opportunities and those fights, you shouldn’t really call yourself a professional boxer because what are they in the sport for?

I assume everyone has the same mindset and that they want to box the best and box on these big shows, but unfortunately that’s not the case.

“I’m not interested in padded records, I just want to box the best and I’m ready to box whoever steps in front of me.”

Having secured a WBA world ranking with her last victory – a stoppage win over German Nina Meinke last April – Taylor is now keen to move on to a world-title shot in order to nail down fights against better opposition.

“I guess these big fights are going to come when I do box for a world title because the opponents will be more inclined to take these fights,” said the Bray woman. “Hopefully I’ll be in that position when I have the belts,” added Taylor, who features on the Brooklyn bill alongside undefeated Cork welterweight Noel Murphy (10-0).

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Ciarán Gallagher

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