Sorry Katie, it probably won't be this easy... ©INPHO/Donall Farmer
Katie Taylor

Katie Taylor lines up first 'Road to Rio' opponents

Have you heard the one about a German, a Ukranian, and Ireland’s Olympic gold medallist?

Updated 7.25pm

OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALLIST Katie Taylor has announced details of her first “Road to Rio” opponents.

Taylor returns to the ring in Dublin’s Bord Gáis Energy Theatre on 24 February when she headlines a sold-out card against Maike Klueners of Germany.

Yulia Tsiplakova, the reigning Ukranian champion and world number 20 at 57kg, will be the opponent for a second bout at the same venue on 22 March.

Both nights will be about “showcasing amateur boxing,” promoter Brian Peters said today, promising 10 bouts in total including an appearance from Taylor’s Bray clubmate and fellow Olympian Adam Nolan.

A number of big-name amateurs, including London silver medallist Sofya Ochigava and America’s Queen Underwood, were linked as possible opponents for Taylor’s first fights as Olympic champion. But with the American Championships scheduled for the end of March and the European Championships — where Taylor is gunning for her sixth straight gold — later this year, willing participants were few and far between.

“It’s always been tough getting opposition for Katie but it’s even tougher since the Olympics,” Taylor’s father and trainer Peter said today.

[Klueners and Tsiplakova] have both been competing at the highest level in women’s boxing for quite a few years now and after the Olympics Katie is the one they all want to beat and that’s something we’re very aware off.

Both girls like to come and have a fight so they should be exciting bouts and good to watch.

Taylor ran out a comfortable winner when she last met 26-year-old Klueners, then the German champion at 57kg, in an exhibition in Youghal in April 2011.

Tsiplakova, 30, was a quarter-finalist in the 57kg division at the 2012 AIBA World Championships in Qinhuangdao, China.

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