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Dublin: 12 °C Monday 16 September, 2019
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'It was the first time I felt as nervous as I did in 2012': Taylor rises to the Wembley occasion

The Bray boxer recorded her fifth professional victory last night and could now be set to fight in Las Vegas this summer.

Taylor celebrates last night's victory.
Taylor celebrates last night's victory.
Image: Lawrence Lustig/INPHO

KATIE TAYLOR WAS under instructions to convince opponent Nina Meinke that the German did not “deserve” to be in the same ring as the former Olympic champion at Wembley Stadium last night.

Taylor boosted her professional record to 5-0 with a seventh-round stoppage win over her previously-undefeated opponent in London, with the Bray native claiming the vacant WBA female inter-continental lightweight title after a dominant performance.

While Taylor’s display was not the most impressive of her five paid wins in just 22 weeks, she was always in control against her 23-year-old opponent in the world-title eliminator on the undercard of Anthony Joshua’s dramatic heavyweight victory over Wladimir Klitschko.

The support bout also marked the first time that the Irish woman came up against a southpaw in the professional ranks and Taylor admitted after the bout that she was not sure what to expect from Meinke.

“I wasn’t really sure what way she was going to approach the fight really, whether she was going to move or whether she was going to be aggressive,” said the Bray woman, who revealed that trainer Ross Enamait was keen to see her show a more ruthless streak.

Meinke had stated in the build-up to the bout that she considered Taylor one of her “idols”, but the five-time world amateur champion was not letting sentimentality get in the way as she claimed her third stoppage win.

“I knew she was very nervous all week and Ross told me to kind of stamp my authority early on in the fight and make sure she knows that she doesn’t deserve to be here,” said Taylor.

“I’ve been getting some great sparring over the last couple of weeks, so I felt that even in the ring today.

Katie Taylor and Nina Meinke Taylor in action at Wembley. Source: Lawrence Lustig/INPHO

“She was so weak in comparison to the guys that I’ve been sparring for these last few weeks and I was able to rough her up inside as well,” added the 30-year-old, who will return to the ring for a Stateside summer date according to promoter Eddie Hearn.

Manager Brian Peters suggested that an undercard slot on the world light heavyweight championship rematch between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev on 17 June in Las Vegas is a possibility for Taylor’s next outing.

If that date transpires, it is likely to tee up a homecoming world title shot in Dublin in November or December.

The female championship distance is 10 rounds and the former Olympic champion insisted that she feels like she can handle that task with ease after bagging seven rounds last night to follow the eight round points win she recorded over Bulgarian Milena Koleva in Manchester last month.

“Obviously it was my first 10-rounder, but I was delighted with my conditioning. She [Meinke] was very tired,” said Taylor.

“I thought the pace of the fight was quite good, I eased myself into the fight and I was conscious that it was a 10-round fight as well.”

While Meinke – an undefeated 5-0 heading into the bout – was a capable foe, the Spandau native was reluctant to engage, throwing very few punches of note, with her lack of action ultimately leading referee Howard Foster to call a halt.

The 23-year-old’s southpaw stance clashing with Taylor’s orthodox style also made for an awkward clash at times as she picked up a cut from an accidental head clash, while Taylor’s busy right hand also marked up her the German’s face badly.

“I always expect the toughest of fights every time I step into the ring but I had to get my distance as well. I didn’t want to blow my load,” laughed Taylor after the odd experience of fighting outdoors for the first time.

“The temperature was quite good, it was nice to have a bit of a breeze. It wasn’t as warm as fighting inside in an arena,” she continued, before revealing that she was as nervous ahead of last night’s bout as she had been ahead of her London 2012 Olympic success.

Katie Taylor and Nina Meinke Taylor with coach Ross Enamait and manager Brian Peters. Source: Lawrence Lustig/INPHO

While a large amount of the 90,000-capacity attendance were not present for the undercard bout, a significant amount of a scattered crowd were present and Taylor was delighted to feature on a bill that recorded the largest post-war turnout for a British fight night.

“I definitely felt the magnitude of the occasion alright… It was the first time I felt as nervous as I did in London 2012 really. I definitely felt the pressure,” said Taylor.

“It’s incredible to have been on such a big stage, the biggest fight in British boxing history.”

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‘I left my job and my home. I dropped everything to move over here but it’s a risk that has paid off’

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About the author:

Ciarán Gallagher

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