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Taylor tips scales heavier than light-welterweight champion on eve of title bid in second division

‘Sure, listen, they’re all confident getting into the ring, aren’t they?’

Taylor and Linardatou square off for the final time before they meet in the ring.
Taylor and Linardatou square off for the final time before they meet in the ring.
Image: Gary Carr/INPHO

Updated Nov 1st 2019, 3:03 PM

CHALLENGER KATIE TAYLOR and champion Christina Linardatou have each comfortably made weight on the eve of their fight for the Greek’s WBO World light-welterweight title, as undisputed lightweight queen Taylor bids to become the third-ever Irish fighter to become a two-division world champion.

Much of the discourse surrounding Saturday night’s headline event at the Manchester Arena had suggested Linardatou would hold the physical edge having campaigned up at 140 pounds over the course of several fights, but indeed it was Taylor who outweighed ‘Medusa’ when the pair took to the scales at the Edwardian on Friday afternoon.

The 33-year-old Bray woman, who holds all the belts at 135 pounds, weighed in a career-heavy 139.6, just over a pound more than Linardatou (138.5) whose title she hopes to add to her collection when the pair square off live on Sky Sports and DAZN (9pm Saturday).

It’s more than half a stone (7lbs) north of where Taylor campaigned during her glittering amateur career, and just over a third of a stone (5lbs) north of the weight at which she has operated in her 14-fight venture into the punch-for-pay ranks to this point.

Despite being perceived as the naturally larger woman, the shorter, more thick-set Linardatou fought as light as 130 pounds as recently as July of 2018, and has campaigned for the majority of her own 12-fight pro career at Taylor’s more natural fight weight of 135.

Nonetheless, at Thursday’s press conference, the 31-year-old Dominican-born Greek professed that she believed her bout with Taylor would transpire to be a cat-and-mouse-type affair, effectively stating her intention to bully Taylor around the ring.

Linardatou also revealed to this publication that she has placed a sizable bet on herself to topple Taylor when they finally trade leather in just over 24 hours’ time. Her challenger, while amused by the idea, wasn’t especially perturbed by the reigning champion’s moxie, and said she’d expect nothing less of a fighter ‘Medusa”s caliber.

“I’m not a betting woman,” Taylor laughed.

“Sure, listen, they’re all confident getting into the ring, aren’t they?” she added before pulling the brakes. “Every single fighter stepping into the ring has to be confident — it’s your responsibility as a fighter to be confident every time you step into the ring, so that doesn’t surprise me.”

katie-taylor Katie Taylor salutes her fans in Manchester. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

The Irishwoman intends to return to lightweight for superfights with Amanda Serrano and Delfine Persoon next year, the latter a rematch which could headline a Sky Sports Box Office bill, provided she can emerge with her hand raised on Saturday night.

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With that in mind, there was care taken during her career-longest training camp not to cultivate too much added muscle, which would inhibit the prospective cut back down to lightweight early next year.

Taylor walks around only a few pounds heavier than she was on the scales in Manchester — somewhere in the region of 143 or 144 — and so this fight week has been somewhat less taxing on the body. “I don’t have to starve meself!” she laughed on Wednesday when asked about her jump in weight to face the Greek champion.

On the physical toll of her day job, made a fraction easier with an extra few pounds’ wiggle room in advance of this weekend’s contest, she told The42: “It definitely is a short career and that’s why it’s so important to try and enjoy these moments and to make the most of every opportunity.

“It is a very, very tough sport, it’s very taxing on the body; you’re putting your body on the line every single week in training, when you’re getting in the ring for these tough spars.

It’s week after week after week after week with these sacrifices, but it’s also an absolute privilege to be living this lifestyle as well. I try to be grateful for these days when I wake up.

Linardatou: ‘You know her, but you don’t know me. You haven’t seen me much because my best fights are not on YouTube’

About the author:

Gavan Casey  / Reporting from Manchester

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