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Katie Taylor preparing for 'rough and rugged' battle in title fight
Taylor faces Anahi Esther Sanchez this weekend in her quest to claim the WBA lightweight title.

WHILE ONE MIGHT expect promoter Eddie Hearn to talk up the prospect of a “grueling fight” between Katie Taylor and Anahi Esther Sanchez this weekend, it may come as some surprise that even the money-on favourite anticipates a “toe-to-toe” battle in Cardiff.

Five-time world amateur champion Taylor is priced at 1/33 by the bookmakers to overcome Argentina’s WBA world lightweight champion Sanchez when the pair clash on the undercard of Anthony Joshua’s heavyweight title defence at the Principality Stadium.

On paper, the female fight appears to be a competitive match-up with 31-year-old Taylor’s novice 6-0 pro looking slightly green when compared to her 25-year-old opponent’s 17-2 slate.

However, the fact that both of Sanchez’s previous defeats came in Europe – in her only fights outside of Argentina – combined with Taylor’s glittering amateur record has led many to predict that a new champion will be crowned on Saturday night.

Hearn, unsurprisingly, was keen to dismiss such notions when plugging the fight at yesterday’s pre-fight press conference.

“It will be gruelling unless Katie gets her out of there early,” claimed the promoter. “I expect Katie, as always, to fight at a frantic pace and I think that will overcome and overpower Sanchez, but Sanchez will come back and Katie will get hit with shots because she does like to stand and trade. It is a dangerous fight.”

Such talk will be labelled as cynical salesmanship by those who believe that the Matchroom boss is out to boost Sky Box Office pay-per-view sales, but Taylor herself agreed with the suggestion that Sanchez could present a gritty challenge considering the Argentine is more acquainted with the ‘dark arts’ of the pro game.

She (Sanchez) is very experienced and she is very rough and rugged when she does get in there as well.

“She likes to get in close, so I would be expecting all that but I am prepared for that,” said the challenger, who paid tribute to Ireland’s only reigning world champion, Ryan Burnett, following his unification victory over Zhanat Zhakiyanov in Belfast last week and hinted that she may take inspiration from her compatriot’s gritty winning performance.

“It was a super performance. He beat him (Zhakiyanov) at his own game, I thought, which was brilliant. (It was) such a physical fight as well, going toe-to-toe for 12 rounds, it was incredible really,” said Taylor before revealing that she is prepared for a similarly gruelling battle this weekend if a toe-to-toe encounter unexpectedly transpires.

“That’s the plan, to go in there and mix it up. There are going to be stages in the fight when I am going to be toe-to-toe with her, so we will see,” said the Bray native. “Hopefully, I will make it a small bit easier on myself. We’ll see how the fight is going.”

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