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Dominant Katie Taylor earns fourth straight win as pro

The Bray native was boxing on the undercard of the world lightweight title rematch between Jorge Linares and Anthony Crolla.

Katie Taylor and Milena Koleva during the Super-featherweight bout at Manchester Arena.
Katie Taylor and Milena Koleva during the Super-featherweight bout at Manchester Arena.

Updated at 23.06

Ciarán Gallagher reports from Manchester Arena

KATIE TAYLOR HAS defeated Milena Koleva at the Manchester Arena to claim her fourth straight win as a pro.

In her first scheduled eight-round bout, the Bray woman paced herself while dominating the contest against her Bulgarian opponent, who was put on the canvas in the seventh round.

Boxing on the undercard of the world lightweight title rematch between Jorge Linares and Anthony Crolla, Taylor claimed a unanimous 80-72 decision on referee Howard Foster’s card.

Koleva carried a 9-7-1 record into the bout, having last fought in January for the IBF world super-featherweight title. That marked the Bulgarian’s only stoppage loss – losing out in the ninth round to home champion Maiva Hamadouche of France.

The 28-year-old previously competed in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), while Taylor had claimed her opponent represented her “biggest test yet” as a professional in advance of the bout.

The Irishwoman walked to the ring with James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” mixed into her now standard entrance music of AC/DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’.

Taylor measured Koleva up in the opening seconds before throwing a number of fast-handed combinations to the head. Koleva had some success with a right hand in the opener, but she appeared at times surprised by the speed of her opponent.

That pattern continued into the second, broken up by a big Taylor left hook less than a minute into the round, while the Bulgarian attempted to test the chin of her decorated foe with the Irishwoman walking through the few shots that landed.

Clearly pacing herself, the Bray native landed with flurries before backing off occasionally as she appeared to be holding some gas in the tank.

A sharp right hand knocked back the head of Koleva in the fourth and the rugged underdog was already threatening to fall into survival mode into the fifth as Taylor worked the body.

An excited Taylor eagerly pursued her foe in the sixth, again targeting the liver, and Koleva looked nearly out on her feet.

The Bulgarian was down in the seventh after a flurry of punches culminated in a right hook to send Koleva to the canvas.

Referee Foster administered a count as the 28-year-old rose up and while Taylor threw a number of spiteful shots, Koleva managed to see out the round to head into the final stanza, which saw the Irishwoman ease to a points victory.

Taylor had travelled to the US to head back into training less than 48 hours after her previous win over Italian Monica Gentili in London three weeks ago.

“I headed back to the US the day after the last fight and got straight back into training and sparring for this one,” said Taylor. “I definitely feel like I’ve made some adjustments and improvements again in the last few weeks.

“It’s been a busy time but I’m feeling very good… I got great sparring in America with seasoned pros every day so I am learning all the time.”

Looking ahead the Bray woman reiterated her belief that her competition will gradually get better en route to a title tilt later this year.

“The opponents are going to step up now as we kick on this year for a world title,” said Taylor, who is due back out in London next month before an anticipated date in the US during the summer.

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Ciarán Gallagher

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