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US broadcaster wants Taylor to headline all-female card in March, with Serrano showdown a possibility

Eddie Hearn confirmed he gave Amanda Serrano a new deal and said, ‘This time, we’re going to make you sign it rather than your promoter’.

Katie Taylor celebrates at the final bell of her fight with Christina Linardatou.
Katie Taylor celebrates at the final bell of her fight with Christina Linardatou.
Image: Gary Carr/INPHO

NEWLY CROWNED TWO-WEIGHT world champion Katie Taylor could make her ring return in the USA in March, with promoter Eddie Hearn revealing his US broadcast partner DAZN are keen for the Irishwoman to headline a first-ever major all-female card in honour of International Women’s Day.

Hearn confirmed that the day before Women’s Day, Saturday 7 March, is an option for what would be Taylor’s first headline slot in the States, and also revealed that one of her nemeses in the professional ranks, Amanda Serrano, has signed a new contract to fight her in the near future.

Taylor outclassed the game Christina Linardatou to relieve the Greek of her WBO World light-welterweight title on Saturday night, headlining a major bill at Manchester Arena — albeit Mancunian darling and former world champion Anthony Crolla fought after Taylor in the running order.

A world title in a second weight class opens even more doors for undisputed lightweight champion Taylor, who vowed to “shut up” Serrano and recent opponent, Delfine Persoon, but could also fight on at 140 and seek a second undisputed championship.

katie-taylor-after-winning-the-wbo-world-super-lightweight-championship Katie Taylor celebrates her 140-pound world-title victory. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

“The tough thing is what do you do next,” said Hearn. “She has got about eight different options. It is just choosing the right one.

“There are so many opportunities to create history. Some of the things to tick off: unifying at 140. Being undisputed at 140. The first-ever [women's fight between] two undisputed world champions in Cecilia Braekhus against Taylor. Headlining her own card at Madison Square Garden against Amanda Serrano. The rematch with Delfine Persoon. There are so many different options.

“It’s going to be really interesting to sit down and see which one you go for. For me, I would love to see here become a two-weight undisputed world champion but again, everyone wants the Serrano fight. Everyone wants the Persoon fight. Everyone wants the [Cecilia] Braekhus fight.

“It is such a great situation to be in. It’s just about plotting a strategy. Ultimately, that’s down to Katie and Ross [Enamait] and Brian [Peters]. We come in and say, ‘These are all the opportunities’. It’s fascinating.”

katie-taylor-with-her-mother-bridget-after-winning-the-wbo-world-super-lightweight-championship Taylor celebrates with her mother, Bridget. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

Hearn confirmed that DAZN “would like to run an all-female card for the first time with Katie headlining” on 7 March, and noted that it is “brilliant that female fighters are getting opportunities and paydays” through facing Taylor.

But he also stressed to the Irish icon’s prospective opponents that while Taylor is the golden goose of their industry, and the guaranteed A-side in any potential encounter, he won’t be held to ransom in negotiations.

“Delfine Persoon, Serrano, what you guys don’t see behind the doors…”, Hearn said, “[is] it’s all very well saying, ‘Yeah, rematch her, fight her,’ but when you start negotiations with these people it’s very easy for them to price themselves out in that situation. It’s not just [a case of] phoning her up and she’ll take the fight. It’s actually getting the deal right and understanding, and treating people with respect.

But understand they can’t make this kind of money unless they fight the female boss, which is Katie Taylor.

Puerto Rican seven-weight world champion Serrano recently accused Taylor of “fleeing” the 135-pound division to avoid both her and Delfine Persoon, and on the face of it seems no closer to joining Taylor in the ring than when she agreed a three-fight co-promotional deal with Hearn almost a year ago — the third fight of which was contractually scheduled to be against Taylor.

Serrano has, in the interim, disputed the legitimacy of the contract, essentially claiming that she never put pen to paper on it, and along with her manager Jordan Maldonado she has demanded a higher fee to face Taylor than that to which was quoted in her Matchroom deal.

boxing-2019-amanda-serrano-defeats-heather-hardy-by-unanimous-decision Amanda Serrano celebrates her victory over Heather Hardy. Source: Joel Plummer

Hearn admitted he had since offered Serrano a new deal which she signed personally, but expressed his frustration that ‘The Real Deal’ has been exploring the option of not fulfilling her deal with a fight against fellow super-featherweight champion being cited for early spring.

“I’ll tell you the very simple situation with Amanda Serrano,” Hearn said. “She previously signed a contract to fight Katie Taylor which she then said that her promoter [signed on her behalf]. So we went, ‘Whatever’, and we gave her a new deal and said, ‘This time, we’re going to make you sign it rather than your promoter’. So, this time, she signed it.

“There’s a new contract and she’s signed it. So, she has to fight Taylor but now she’s saying, ‘I don’t want to wait until February,March, I want to box in January’. She’s going to box Jelena Mrdjenovich so if she wants to take that fight, she’s got to sign an extension to fight Katie Taylor because we had six months from her last fight to fight her — which is early March.

If you want to fight in January, don’t pretend that we don’t want the fight because you want another fight. We don’t get drawn into this stuff but the truth is everyone wants the lottery victory – to get the Katie Taylor fight. Amanda Serrano against Katie Taylor is an absolute monster event.

“Katie Taylor, in my opinion, will headline a pay-per-view next year on Sky,” Hearn said, reiterating what he had previously told The42 earlier in the week. “But it won’t be in America. Really, there’s only three fights that would do that which is Serrano, Brækhus, and Persoon.”

boxing-manchester-arena Taylor could yet have to drop a few belts if she is to follow through on her grand plans. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Hearn also acknowledged that if Taylor is to fight in two weight divisions, and potentially even a third if she faces undisputed welterweight champ Cecilia Braekhus in a historic encounter (likely at a catchweight), she may have to content with losing a belt or two to boxing politics along the way.

“I think the biggest problems that Katie will have is the mandatories in the lightweight situation. Now, going into a new division where there won’t be that pressure, soon the WBC will say, ‘Right, you’ve got to fight her’, and the IBF will say, ‘This is your mandatory’, and eventually you can’t just keep holding onto the undisputed title whilst you’re fighting these mandatories that might not be that important to you.

“Although she won’t want to give up any belts, at some point it’s hard not to – unless you want to take fights that actually aren’t the right fights, if that makes sense.”

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