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Dublin: 2 °C Wednesday 16 January, 2019

Plotting Katie Taylor's path towards the biggest women's fight of all time in 2019

Katie Taylor faces Eva Wahlstrom in a career-biggest test this Saturday, but provided she wins, the fights will only get bigger next year.

Eddie Hearn and Brian Peters are eyeing four huge showdowns for Katie Taylor next year.
Eddie Hearn and Brian Peters are eyeing four huge showdowns for Katie Taylor next year.
Image: Matt Heasley/INPHO

EDDIE HEARN HAS put on record plans which would see 2019 become the defining year of Katie Taylor’s professional boxing career, with four major fights being targeted from March onwards.

Taylor faces former amateur rival Eva Wahlstrom in a career-biggest test to date this Saturday on the undercard of Canelo v Rocky Fielding at Madison Square Garden, New York.

Should she emerge victorious, the fights will only get bigger.

Matchroom Boxing chief Hearn, manager Brian Peters and Taylor herself have long planned to seal undisputed champion status within the lightweight division before taking on two potential women’s superfights with rival Amanda Serrano and pro boxing’s ‘First Lady’ Cecilia Braekhus respectively.

All going according to that plan, March will see Taylor face Brazil’s WBO World lightweight champion Rose Volante before turning her attention to WBC queen Delfine Persoon of Belgium in the summer.

Two wins against Volante [14-0, 8KOs] and Persoon [42-1, 17KOs] would see Taylor become the undisputed world lightweight champion, i.e. the holder of all four major belts — her predominant goal since turning over from the amateur ranks after Rio 2016.

Taylor would then square off with Puerto Rican Serrano [35-1-1, 26KOs], who by then will likely be one of only two fighters in history — male or female — to have won world titles in seven weight divisions.

Following that, a seismic battle of boxing’s First Ladies would likely beckon.

O2 Arena Boxing Promoter Eddie Hearn has big plans for his leading female fighter. Source: Nick Potts

“This will be Katie’s toughest fight to date,” Hearn said of Saturday’s test against stylish Finn Wahlstrom, who Taylor beat three times as an amateur.

“Wahlstrom is undefeated in 23 fights and a WBA [WBC] super-featherweight world champion.

After that, we are trying to get her to fight the WBO champion Rose Valante in the United States in March – we are just negotiating at the moment.

“Then hopefully Katie will fight Delfine Persoon for the WBC and undisputed title, before taking on Amanda Serrano and Cecilia Braekhus,” Hearn concluded.

Hearn and Brian Peters pulled out the stops to lure Serrano, 30, back from MMA, with the adopted Brooklynite recently signing a lucrative three-fight deal with U.S. broadcaster DAZN having previously complained of a lack of opportunities within boxing. The third of those fights is tentatively scheduled to see Serrano square off with Taylor for a career-highest purse.

Boxing 2017 - Amanda Serrano Beats Yazmin Rivas by Unanimous Decision Amanda Serrano (R) has vowed to knock Taylor out. Source: Joel Plummer

The Bray woman and ‘The Real Deal’ have a frosty relationship, with Taylor unusually engaging in some verbal warfare back in October.

Ahead of her facile victory over Serrano’s elder sister, Cindy, the 32-year-old told The42 that she believed Serrano to be “mentally fragile” and “afraid to lose”.

Serrano, meanwhile, is on record as stating she has the power to knock Taylor out, and per Hearn, she’ll get her chance to back up her claims provided she and Taylor keep winning.

The winner of that eventual clash — provided it takes place — will most likely go on to face Norway’s Braekhus, the undisputed World welterweight champion whose record currently reads 35-0(9KOs). Braekhus, 37, has previously indicated to The42 that she’s seriously intent on facing her old sparring partner before retirement.

Imago 20171018 Braekhus and Taylor could face off in an unprecedented clash of undisputed world champions. Source: Imago/PA Images

While Taylor-Serrano would be a standout fight not only in women’s boxing but boxing generally, Taylor’s team has long earmarked a showdown with Braekhus as ‘the big one’ — at least until they formally invite MMA star Holly Holm back to the ring further down the line.

Indeed, with TV now on board, it’s not inconceivable that a fight between women’s boxing’s two leading lights would be the biggest female fight of all time to that point: male or female, never before in the modern era have two reigning undisputed champions come together in a bid to discover who is truly supreme.

It’s for this added magnitude that Taylor’s team intend to first relieve Volante and Persoon of their world-title straps and vanquish another all-time great in Serrano as part of their four-fight blueprint.

What’s almost certain is that, for her part, Taylor would earn the largest guaranteed purse in female boxing history — somewhere well north of €300,000 — but the belts would go out the window: Taylor (135lbs) and Braekhus (147lbs) would likely meet in the middle at 140, their battle not for baubles but instead for the status of pound-for-pound number one and that of the true era-definer.

There are significant hurdles to overcome first, however, beginning with Eva Wahlstrom on Saturday night. 

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